Collecting bets does not fall within the scope of the distance meter
The Administrative Court of Lombardy reiterates that the betting collection activity is not subject to the discipline of the so-called "distance meter"
Another pronouncement on the vexata quaestio of the so-called "distance meter", introduced, as is known, by art. 7 of the Law Decree n. 158/2012 ("Balduzzi Decree" converted into Law no. 189/2012) and defined by the Constitutional Court as a "measure for the logistical prevention of gambling addiction" (see Constitutional Court, 11 May 2017, no. 108). The Regional Administrative Court for Lombardy, Second branch of Brescia, accepted the appeal of an operator against the Mantua Police Headquarters for the annulment of the decree of the Quaestor with which the license pursuant to art. 88 T.U.L.P.S. for the collection of bets in premises located in a Municipality of Mantua. The Mantua Police Headquarters, in fact, had denied the applicant the license pursuant to art. 88 of the TULPS for the collection of bets on the basis of the note from the Local Police, which had certified that the premises did not respect the minimum distance of 500 meters from sensitive places. The TAR, in the aforementioned ruling, confirmed on the merits the considerations advanced in the precautionary stage, namely: a) the obligation to respect the minimum distance from sensitive places is set by art. 5 paragraph 1 of Regional Law 8/2013 only for the premises where the appliances referred to in art. 110 paragraph 6 of the Tulps, namely AWP (letter a) and VLT (letter b); b) based on art. 5 paragraph 1-bis of Regional Law 8/2013, the condition that determines the application of the obligation of the minimum distance is the connection of the devices to the telematic networks of the ADM after the publication in the BURL of the resolution of the DGR 24 January 2014 n . 10/1274 (i.e. after January 28, 2014); c) as already highlighted in another previous sentence of the same TAR (see sentence no. 111 of February 2, 2021), the obligation to respect the minimum distance from sensitive places applies only to the devices expressly mentioned in art. 5 paragraph 1 of LR 8/2013 (AWP and VLT); d) however, since it is a restrictive provision of the freedom of economic initiative, an application extended to cases that are not considered by the legislator to be equally dangerous in inducing compulsive gambling is not admissible; e) therefore, the betting collection activity referred to in art. 1 paragraph 287 of law 311/2004 does not fall within the discipline on minimum distances from sensitive places. Consequently, when issuing the license pursuant to art. 88 of the Tulps cannot be denied in this regard, when it is clear that the authorization subject of the request refers exclusively to the activity of collecting bets. In essence, the Lombard administrative judges reiterated, if the license pursuant to art. 88 of the Tulps is qualified as a specific authorization concerning only the betting collection activity, in relation to the clauses of the contract with the new concessionaire referring to public games on a sporting basis, there is no obligation to respect the minimum distance from sensitive places provided for by 'art. 5 paragraphs 1 and 1-bis of Regional Law 8/2013.