Troubles for B Plus create new videolottery opportunities?


The status of the Italian videolottery market might considerably change after the new measures ordered against B Plus Giocolegale Ltd., one the largest Italian videolottery and AWP (comma 6A) operators, which placed the company in a status of “extraordinary and temporary management“.

I have already discussed in this post of the troubles affecting B Plus which followed those relating to the payment of the massive penalties imposed on them covered in this other post.  However, the dispute between the Italian Government and B Plus is not over as the head of police of Rome has ordered that the management of the company is now in the hands of 3 “commissioners” appointed by him.

The current situation for B Plus

According to a law just approved by the Parliament, if there is a pending judicial proceeding against a company holding a public license such as a gaming license, the head of the anti-corruption office can require the head of the police to appoint some commissioners in order to temporarely run the company.  And indeed, the newly appointed managers will have the role of preserving the assets of the company that has over 300 employees and generates – according to estimates – tax entries of over € 1 bn for the State on a yearly basis.

This new episode of the dispute comes after that B Plus had brought a claim against the Ministry of Home Affairs and the head of the Rome police for € 530 million of damages due to the harm suffered by the company because of the measures previously adopted against them.

The opportunities in the videolottery market

The outcome of such battle is very uncertain, but the State certainly cannot afford to lose the tax entries generated by B Plus.  And this circumstance might lead to either the re-assignment of the 12,000 videolottery installation rights held by the company to other licensees or to the sale of the company itself.

Such latter scenario might be the most convenient both for AAMS, the Italian gambling regulator, and the Government since it would avoid the gaming law troubles of a new tendering process for the assignment of videolottery installation rights left by B Plus as well as additional potential court cases.  Also, the deal might be structured as a transfer of going concern/business so that the purchaser might acquire only the assets of the company that are of its interest limiting the liabilities potentially transferred.

It will be interesting to see the developments of the matter, but the current timing appears to be favorable for investors in the market also because a potential purchaser is likely to be backed up by AAMS and the Italian Government.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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