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Gaming Authority Patient as Italian Blockade Persists

4 Apr 2006

MALTA AND ITALY -- As reported by Malta Today: "The Lotteries and Gaming Authority is still awaiting an invitation for talks from the Italian gaming authority, three weeks since it launched a blockade of Maltese internet gaming sites.

"Last week, the authority's website, which now serves as the only form of access for Italian gamers to link up with the blocked Maltese gaming sites, was also blocked by Italian ISPs. The matter was reversed within hours.

"The authority's CEO Mario Galea said he hoped the Italians would keep their word to start discussions: "The Italians understand they have no problems with us and said they are ready to meet us. If they don't, we would have to take diplomatic action, and that means the issue will be dealt with at government level."

"Over 80 sites licensed in Malta were blocked by Italy, part of a law enacted following its 2006 Budget to block 684 online gaming sites not licensed in Italy on the grounds it was protecting Italian gamers from 'phishing' – the fraudulent acquisition of passwords and credit card details.

"The Italian regulatory board, the AAMS, has threatened Italian ISPs which do not block the websites with a daily fine of EUR180,000 each time they allow someone to bet with a 'blacklisted' company.

"The Malta Remote Gaming Council said there is no reason why Maltese gambling websites should be stopped, 'other than to protect the Italian government's monopoly which runs betting in Italy.'..."

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