Malta-registered Stanleybet to pay Italian tax in regulator dispute

Stanleybet insists the ADM still denies the company entry into Italy’s licensing system nad accuses the regulator of having “a historical aversion to Stanleybet”

The Maltese-registered betting giant Stanleybet has disclosed that it has paid betting taxes “for the first time” to Italy’s gaming regulator, the ADM customs and monopolies agency.

Stanleybet’s Malta subsidiary was required to pay taxes related to its Italian betting shop operation for 2022.

Stanleybet has been in a 25-year dispute with the ADM, being frozen out of Italy’s licensing system and impeded from participating in Italian sportsbook tenders. The company is instead licensed by the Maltese Gaming Authority.

Stanleybet entered the Italian betting market in 1998, requesting authorisation from the Italian finance minstry to acquire 100 betting shops from the former monopoly SNAI, a concession overseen by the ADM.

But ADM refused Stanleybet to participate in further betting shop concessions, citing a ‘disqualification clause’ that excludes foreign, publicly-listed companies from submitting tenders – a decision directly contested by Stanleybet.  

Stanleybet insists its Italian presence is validated by four arbitrations by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), and rulings verified by Italy’s Court of Cassation on “discrimination in its access to the licensing system”.

Stanleybet insists the ADM still denies the company entry into Italy’s licensing system nad accuses the regulator of having “a historical aversion to Stanleybet”. Between 2014 and 2017, the ADM filed numerous cases against the Stanleybet network and its executives “against top Stanley executives and against network owners”.

Stanleybet’s board has now declared that given consecutive failed attempts to engage in dialogue with the ADM, it will start paying the F24 tax to ADM, “exercising the right to pay taxes in Italy like any licensed operator.”

The MGA was informed of Stanleybet’s payment. “Stanleybet hopes that ADM will consider this initiative not as a challenge, but as an act of wisdom, in the best interests of the Italian State.”

Stanley was established in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1958 and, after more than 20 years of development in Ireland, moved to England in 1979, setting up its headquarters in Liverpool.

Stanley International, a 50/50 joint venture between Stanley Leisure Plc and an Italo-British player was established in July 1997 and immediately began overseas operations in Croatia and Italy.

Dr Giovanni Garrisi oversaw the growth of Stanleybet Group into a €700 million turnover company with a global presence. The maths PhD worked in finance before realising he could take on the Italian TotoCalcio pools game with a probability model that netted him a huge win.

Garrisi realised the opportunity of UK-style sports betting for the Italian market, negotiating a joint venture with Stanley Leisure in 1997 to create Stanley International Betting. In 2006, following Stanley Leisure’s takeover by Genting, Garrisi bought the other 50% of Stanleybet’s international division, and scored major court victories over the Italian government on the regulation of his company.