Casino News

Italy Determined To Revamp Gambling Laws Despite Industry Concerns

Italy has taken a significant step towards a comprehensive reform of its online gambling sector in 2024, as the government has decided to proceed with the Ministry of the Economy and Finance (MEF)’s decree to reorganize the gambling sector. However, newly envisioned licensing fees have caused significant friction with operators who accused policymakers of their haphazard and chaotic approach.

The New Decree Aims to Bolster Customer Safety According to the Italian government, the new legislation aims to safeguard players, especially minors, combat criminal activities, and bolster tax revenues for public projects and social causes. The new decree encompasses measures to tackle illegal gambling, protect vulnerable players, introduce self-limitation tools, disseminate cautionary messages, and enforce customer restrictions based on deposit levels.

Licensing fees will also receive a significant revamp, rising drastically to €7 million ($7.66 million) from 2018’s €200,000 ($392,000). Operators will also be subject to a 3% operating fee on their net revenues, along with an additional annual 0.2% fee contributing to responsible gaming campaigns under the jurisdiction of a dedicated gambling department of Italy’s Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM).

The reformed concessions system will impose a cap of five licenses for each operator, aiming to eliminate ‘skin websites’ and single concessionaire product sales, a concern previously raised by the ADM. The government anticipates generating significant revenues, estimating €350 million ($383.6 million) from competition and an additional €100 million ($109.6 million) annually from concession fees.

Italian Operators Strongly Protest Some of the Changes Despite the government’s best intentions, some measures have raised significant concerns among industry stakeholders, like the Italian Association of Public Games Operators and Italy’s Association for Slot Machine Vendors. They urged the government to involve the industry in making necessary changes before proceeding with the decree, warning that the proposed changes would disproportionately hurt smaller businesses.

With 83 existing operators in Italy, the government expects at least 50 to apply for the new concession, signifying a notable industry shift and a means to resolve legal disputes surrounding licensing extensions. While the government has envisioned new measures to block unlicensed websites and transactions with illegal operators, the broader industry warns that they may fail to achieve their desired effect.

We urge the Council of Ministers to reconsider the proposal, as it will make the country’s online gambling black market problem even worse, not better.

Maarten Haijer, European Gaming & Betting Association secretary general Despite rising discontent from industry representatives, the Italian government appears determined to proceed with its planned revisions. Treasury Deputy Minister Maurizio Leo and PM Giorgia Meloni have expressed their support for the reorganization, focusing on the economic benefits and improved customer safety. However, the refusal to engage with the industry raises growing concerns that the new decree may have unintended consequences.

Casino News Worldwide
Casino News Worldwide offers real-time updates and insights, aggregating the latest news, trends, and developments from the global casino and gaming industry, making it the go-to resource for enthusiasts and professionals seeking up-to-the-minute information in one convenient location.