Italy: Points of conflict stand on path to gambling reorganisation 

Italian gambling has been notified of progress on the regulatory front, as state auditor Ragioneria dello Stato has approved the draft ‘reorganisation plan’ of the sector prepared by Italy’s Ministry of the Economy and Finance. 

Securing its progress, the plan has been forwarded to the government, which will review proposed amendments to ratify a bill that will be designated to Parliament for final approval.

Last month, Italy’s Economic Ministry laid out its ‘desired principles to undertake a reform of the Italian gambling sector needed to “minimise problem gambling, terminate black market activities and optimise tax incomes from licensed businesses.”

Should Parliament approve its designated bill, the Ministry will proceed with drafting reform decrees that will be implemented over a period of 6-to-12 months.

Headline reforms have seen the Ministry support a “territorial reorganisation” of Italian gambling that will force land-based businesses (betting shop, bingo, arcade) to ‘gradually reduce’ their venues/locations within ‘concentrated safe environments’.

Market safeguards will see the Ministry impose a new central player registry that all problem-gambling self-exclusion schemes and licensed operators (retail and online) must be integrated with. 

Of significance for operators, the Ministry has proposed that the government establish a ‘special regime for concessionaires’ –  as the sector requires an urgent resolution on licensing concessions for retail and online operators that will expire in 2022.

The Ministry has also recommended that the government review all criteria related to gambling crime, calling for stricter penalties and gambling tax evasion to be viewed as a high-level crime by the Italian Justice System.  

Despite its progress, the Ministry’s bill may come into conflict as it has recommended the state auditor to remove the regional municipalities from directly being allocated gaming revenues.

Other potential conflicts point to a desired reorganisation of Italy’s ADM Agency of Customs and Monopolies in its duties governing the gambling sector.

Though recommending that the ADM be granted new powers, the Ministry has outlined that the customs agency “cannot act as a global coordinator in tackling any form of illegal gambling,  especially the one offered via the web”.

The Ministry will disclose further industry amendments as individual decrees are presented to parliament for approval during the course of the year.  

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