Crackdown in Italy

17 September 2001
Italian police on Thursday shut down five sports Web sites allegedly linked to illegal betting. The sites reportedly hosted betting services for a prominent British bookmaking firm and handled several millions of dollars in illegal bets in doing so.

Among the sites under investigation is, the homepage for Associazione Italiana Calciatori (AIC), Italy's national soccer association. This has prompted officials to investigate the possible involvement of professional players.

The other sites shut down were,, and

Local police learned in May that British bookmaker Eurobet had been advertising its betting services on several sports-related sites. The investigation led to police raiding the offices of the companies operating the sites.

Following the searches, Sergio Campana, president of AIC, called the betting ads a "regrettable accident" and had them pulled from the AIC site.

Eurobet PR Director Simon Clare denied that the company had any connection to the shutting down of the sites. "Customers from all over the world can access and place bets on our Web site, but we have no operations in any countries apart from the locations of our two head offices," he said. Eurobet maintains offices in England and Gibraltar.

The five sites under investigation are currently either shut down or feature a statement reading: "Sequestro, Proc. Pen. Nr. 25930/01 - Decreto emesso in data 02.09.2001, Procura della Repubblica di Roma," which roughly translated means, "Seized under Proc. Pen. Nr. 25930/01 - Decree issued on September 2, 2001 - By the power of attorney of the Republic of Rome."

Sports betting services in Italy can only be conducted by government-approved companies.