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European Court Rules Against Double Taxation on Gambling Winnings

The European Court of Justice has ruled against Italy's tax authorities who were trying to double tax a citizen's betting money that he won in an outside country.

The ECJ ruled that double taxation runs contrary to Article 56 of the European Union Principles and Treaties.The case came after Italy tried to double tax punters Pier Paolo and Cristiano Blanco on various betting sites that were licensed in other European countries, but not Italy itself. Both players were then asked to pay taxes on the winnings, after they were already paid in the countries which hosted the casino games.

Blanco, who was up more than $610,000 then decided to take the issue to court. Eventually the ECJ ruled that Italy's demand for double taxation is indeed discriminatory as it exempts tax on players in its own casinos because punters pay an entertainment tax when they bet at the tables.

The court's decision on the matter read: "It must be borne in mind that the freedom to provide services under the EU constitution requires not only the elimination of all discrimination on grounds of nationality against providers of services established in other member states, but also the abolition of any restriction - even if it applies without distinction to national providers of services and to those from other member states - which is liable to prohibit, impede or render less attractive the activities of a provider of services established in another member state where he lawfully provides similar services."