A few days ago, Marcello Minenna, the recently-appointed director-general of the Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM), confirmed that Italian betting shops that do not pay their tax duties to local authorities are facing closures. Mr. Minenna further noted that after taking over his role at the ADM, negotiations between the Agency and the Financial Police Unit (GDF) started, as the authorities have been willing to set up a mechanism that would cease operation of betting outlets that do not comply with the country’s gambling legislation.
For the time being, it is the GDF that bears the responsibility for enforcement of any monetary sanctions or suspension of operations, which basically means that an agreement would have to be reached between the ADM and the Financial Police Unit in order for Mr. Minenna to be able to approve the above-mentioned betting shop closures.
Following the adoption of some gambling amendments in the “2020 Budget Law” that the Parliament passed in December 2019, the Customs and Monopolies Agency, which serves as a regulator of the country’s gambling sector, was empowered to impose business closures as a punitive measure for operators that are not in line with the Italian gambling legislation.
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Bookmakers that operate on the territory of Italy have been warned by the ADM after some of them appealed the enforcement of the betting shop closures. The Agency has also reminded such operators that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) had previously given the green light to the gambling amendments implemented in this year’s Budget Law. Furthermore, the ECJ had found that all gambling companies operating in Italy, regardless of where their registered office is situated, must be subject to betting duty.
The newly-appointed director-general of the Agency, Mr. Minenna, took over his role during the coronavirus lockdown. At the time, he shared an intention to not let go of the regulator’s strict approach when it comes to controlling and monitoring of Italian gambling license holders, and the collection of unpaid taxes totaling €120 million, which date back to 2018. Currently, the ADM is awaiting the country’s Supreme Court to issue a decision on 200 gambling tax convictions.
Meanwhile, the Italian Government has provided little relief to local bookmakers that have been facing difficulties during the coronavirus shutdown. Earlier in 2020, it imposed a temporary pandemic-related turnover tax, which was higher than the one initially expected, saying that all the proceeds would be used to help the sports sector. Currently, a 0.5% tax rate is applicable to gambling companies through December 31st, 2021. The Italian Government has shared that the increased tax rate is expected to help it accumulate proceeds of €40 million by the end of 2020 and in €50 million in 2021.