Corporate Criminal Liability for Gaming Operators

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The corporate criminal liability of gaming operators is a hot topic at the moment in Italy for Italian and foreign operators.

Italian law provides indeed a regime of corporate liability and sanctions in the event that the directors/managers or employees commit certain types of crimes in the interest of, and or to the advantage of, their companies (or group companies). In this context, the activity of gaming operators that offer their games under a public gaming license and operate under the monitoring of a public entity, AAMS, as well as the communication of data relating to gaming transactions through the protocols of communication to AAMS’ servers create the risk of commission of, among others, the crimes of

  • corruption and bribery,
  • misappropriation to the detriment of the State,
  • informatics fraud (e.g. in case of notification of erroneous data to AAMS through the protocols of communication or installation of malware on the player’s pc),
  • money laundering (also because Italian licensed operators shall comply with Italian AML law even if they are foreign entities) and
  • breach of IP rights.

These risks are relevant also for foreign online and landased operators holding an Italian gaming license as Italian law applies to crimes committed in Italy and such circumstance is met if an action, or the omission that constitutes the crime, is entirely or even partially committed in Italy, or if the event or action occurs in Italy. Therefore even if the action/omission (or part of it) is performed abroad such conduct can trigger the applicability of the Italian criminal liability regime.

This is even more relevant considering that the sanctions prescribed by Italian corporate criminal liability law consist not only in fines up to € 1,500,000, but also inthe termination/suspension of the license which the termination/suspension of the Italian business of the operator.

How to limit such liability risk? The sole available defence prescribed by Italian corporate criminal law is to adopt an internal corporate model of organization and management of the company (or of the group if more companies are involved) aimed at preventing the commission of crimes:

  • identifying the potential risky areas/persons and their modalities of operation;
  • implementing an appropriate internal monitoring system to exclude/limit the potential risks;
  • appointing an Audit Entity that shall monitor the proper adoption of the model.

Do you want to know more on the above? Feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio

(This is the re-posting of a comment first published on Giulio Coraggio’s blog at www.gamingtechlaw.com)

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Giulio Coraggio (LL. M.) is Senior Associate at DLA Piper, Milan. Join Giulio's Linkedin network at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/giuliocoraggio

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