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In that connection, it should be recalled that it is for the referring court, taking account of the indications given by the Court of Justice, to verify, in an overall assessment of the circumstances surrounding the grant of the new licences, whether the restrictions imposed by the Member State concerned satisfy the conditions laid down in the Court’s case-law concerning their proportionality (see, to that effect, judgment in Digibet and Albers, C‑156/13, EU: C:2056, paragraph 40 and the case-law cited).Regarding the question whether the restriction at issue in the main proceedings is suitable to ensure the attainment of the objective pursued, the referring court must examine, inter alia, as the Advocate General observed in points 91 to 93 of his Opinion, whether the fact that the transfer free of charge to the CMA or to another licensee of the rights to use tangible and intangible assets owned by the licensee and which constitute his network for the management and collection of bets is not imposed systematically, but only ‘[a]t the express request of the CMA’, affects the ability of the provision at issue in the main proceedings to attain the objective pursued.In that connection, Ms Laezza submits that the provision at issue in the main proceedings is discriminatory as it establishes a difference in treatment between operators having obtained a licence at the time of the call for tenders organised on the basis of Article 10(9g) and (9h) of Decree-Law 2012, on one hand, and operators having obtained a licence at the time of the previous calls for tender, on the other hand, since the latter were able to benefit, before possibly being required to transfer free of charge the rights to use equipment for collecting bets on the expiry of the licence, from a longer writing-off period in respect of that equipment.However, as the Advocate General observes in essence in points 66 and 67 of his Opinion, it seems clear from the evidence submitted to the Court that the measure at issue in the main proceedings applies without distinction to all the operators who have taken part in the call for tenders launched in 2012 on the basis of Article 10(9g) and (9h) of Decree-Law 2012, irrespective of their place of establishment.The referring court observes that the Consiglio di Stato (Council of State) has already referred two questions to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling concerning, inter alia, the shorter period of validity of the new licences as compared with the old licences in the case which gave rise to the judgment in Stanley International Betting and Stanleybet Malta (C‑463/13, EU: C:20), but considers that EU law does not preclude the national provision which lays down that period of validity.However, the referring court points out that Article 25 of the draft agreement imposes the obligation on licensees to transfer free of charge, at the time of the cessation of the business owing to the expiry of the licence or as a result of measures revoking or terminating that licence, the rights to use tangible and intangible assets which they own and which constitute their network for the management and collection of bets.Judgment of the Court (Third Chamber) of 28 January 2016. Request for a preliminary ruling from the Tribunale di Frosinone. To that end, in view of the impending expiry of a group of licences for the collection of those bets, the Independent Authority for the Administration of State Monopolies [now the Customs and Monopolies Agency, Agenia delle dogane e dei Monopoli, ‘the CMA’] shall immediately, or in any event by 31 July 2012 at the latest, launch a call for tenders for the selection of persons who are to collect such bets with due regard, at the very least, to the following criteria: the possibility of participation for persons already carrying out an activity related to the collection of bets in one of the States of the European Economic Area, as a result of having their legal and operational seat there, on the basis of a valid and effective authorisation issued under the provisions in force in the law of that State and who fulfil the requirements as to reputation, reliability and financial capacity specified by the [CMA], account being taken of the provisions in this matter referred to in Law No 220 [laying down provisions for drawing up the annual and multiannual budget of the State (Stability Law 2011) (legge n.Reference for a preliminary ruling — Articles 49 TFEU and 56 TFEU — Freedom of establishment — Freedom to provide services — Betting and gaming — Judgment of the Court of Justice which declared the national rules on licences for the collection of bets incompatible with EU law — Reorganisation of the system by way of a new call for tenders — Free-of-charge transfer of the rights to use tangible and intangible assets owned by licensees and which constitute their network for the management and collection of bets — Restriction — Overriding reasons in the public interest — Proportionality. Judgment of the Court (Third Chamber) of 28 January 2016. Request for a preliminary ruling from the Tribunale di Frosinone. 220 — Disposizioni per la formazione del bilancio annual e pluriennale dello State [legge di stabilita’ 2011) of 13 December 2010 (Ordinary Supplement to the GURI No 297 of 21 December 2010), as amended by Law No 111 of 15 July 2011 (‘the Stability Law 2011’)] and by Decree-Law No 98 of 6 July 2011, converted, after amendment, into statute by Law No 111 of 15 July 2011; the award of a licence, expiring on 30 June 2016, for the collection, exclusively in a physical network, of bets on sporting events, including horse racing, and non-sporting events, from agencies, up to a maximum of 2000, whose sole activity is the marketing of public gambling products, without restriction as to the minimum distances between those agencies or with respect to other collection points, which are already active, for identical bets; the conclusion of a licence agreement whose content is consistent with any other principle laid down by the above-mentioned judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 16 February 2012 and with the compatible national provisions in force regarding public gambling; the possibility of managing agencies in any municipality or province, without numerical limits on a territorial basis or more favourable conditions compared to licensees who are already authorised to collect identical bets or which may, in any event, be favourable to those licensees; (9h) The licensees who are to collect bets referred to in paragraph 9g, whose contracts expire on 30 June 2012, shall continue their collection activities until the date of the conclusion of the licence contracts awarded in accordance with the above paragraph.’ Under Article 1(77) of the Stability Law 2011: ‘In order to ensure a correct balance between public and private interests in the context of the organisation and management of public gaming, in view of the State monopoly in respect of gaming …
By decision of 10 June 2014, the judge responsible for preliminary investigations at the Tribunale di Cassino (District Court, Cassino) validated that seizure and issued a preventive attachment order with respect to that equipment.
In the present case, the Italian Government submits that the provision at issue in the main proceedings is justified, as part of the objective of combating criminality linked to betting and gambling, by the interest in ensuring the continuation of the lawful activity of collecting bets in order to curb the growth of parallel illegal activities.
In any event, the identification of the objectives in fact pursued by the national legislation is within the jurisdiction of the referring court (see, to that effect, judgment in Pfleger and Others, C‑390/12, EU: C:201, paragraph 47).
Before the referring court, Ms Laezza lodged an application seeking to have that decision set aside.
In that application, Ms Laezza also referred to the action brought by the companies of the Stanley Group, to which the DTC she manages is affiliated, against the call for tenders organised on the basis of Article 10(9g) and (9h) of Decree-Law 2012 for the award of gaming licences in Italy, on the ground that it is discriminatory.