Fresh hope for Italian gambling reforms as Parliament ends licensing limbo

Positive regulatory developments in Italy have seen bookmakers end their licensing limbo, as Parliament has allowed concessions to be extended for a further two years until 2024. 

Italian ministers agreed to override gambling regulator ADM, the Customs and Monopolies Agency’s review of licence concessions that had been botched during 2021 – which saw the franchisees of Snaitech, Lottomattica, Sisal, SKS365 and Eurobet await a delayed judgement on the number of betting shops that would be re-approved licences.

Parliament granted the licence extensions, with a view that Italy’s gambling sector will likely be reorganised during the next two years.   

Italian operators were informed that licence extensions will  be granted at a yearly cost of €7,500 for each franchise – with total market concession capped at 5755 betting shops.

The government-backed the decision, estimating that it would receive a further €63 million from licensed operators ending the licensing purgatory of their long-suffering betting shop franchisees.

The extension has brought fresh hope that the Italian government will reform the gambling sector – as demanded by the Ministry of the Economy and Finance at the start of the year.

In February, the Ministry of the Economy published its ‘desired principles’ to govern Italian gambling – focusing on reducing problem gambling harms, terminating black market activities and optimising tax incomes.  

Though desired, the Ministry of the Economy has yet to submit its ‘Gambling Reorganisation Bill’ that will require a vote by Parliament and the approval of Italy’s  regional governments to come to force.   

The Ministry favours a  ‘territorial reorganisation” of gambling that will force land-based businesses (betting shop, bingo, arcade) to ‘gradually reduce’ their venues/locations within ‘concentrated safe environments’.

Further measures have called for licensed operators to use compulsory  centralised controls such as customer limits on spend and time, stake limits and instant access to the national self-exclusion scheme

The Ministry faces a tight timetable to deliver its draft decree, which must be voted and approved by Parliament and Regional governments before Campaigns begin for Italy’s General Election, that has been scheduled for Spring 2023.

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