The Italian Government has been proceeding with its work on gambling reforms to make the regulation of the sector more unified. A new set of legislative measures, which is referred to as the “anti-mafia” legislation, is gradually progressing through the country’s Legislature, although it still has a long way to go.
The aforementioned bill covers all aspects and forms of gambling in Italy. Now, the fast-tracked piece of legislation seeking to implement a massive overhaul of the land-based gambling sector of the country and standardize the laws and regulations under which the local gambling industry operates is in front of Parliament for discussion. As confirmed by the Government, it needs no less than 12 committees to support it before it reaches the finish line, including Constitutional Affairs, Finance, Labor, and Productive Activities. The Government will have to draft the ensuing decrees once the measure is approved and turned into law.
As mentioned above, the Government plans to become more focused on the regulation of land-based gaming venues, including casinos, betting shops, bingo halls, arcades, etc., by making sure all of the above operate in a safe and controlled manner away from youth, academic, and welfare institutions. The sponsors of the bill seek to reorganize the Italian gambling sector by imposing uniform standards that need to be met by all provinces.
For the time being, safer gambling remains on top of the Government’s agenda of reforms, as gambling businesses that target local customers are required to ensure the full protection to people who struggle to control their gambling. Some of the measures outlined in the proposed set of legislative measures include enhancing self-exclusion mechanisms, reduction of stake caps and winnings, implementation of mandatory continuous training for dealers, operators, and concessionaires, etc.
The Government has also warned licensed gambling companies that it plans to make certain adjustments to gambling taxes, operator and dealer fees, concessionaire commissions, and payout percentage rates.
Retail Gambling Sector Remains Important Contributor to Italian Economy, Despite Growing Online Gambling Market
Market analysts have noted that the ongoing legislative push will be the third attempt of the Italian Government to bring reforms to the local gambling industry in the last eight years.
The first two tries, unfortunately, failed because of political issues or facing public opposition.
The Italian gambling market is still growing, regardless of the negative impact that the lengthy Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 had on the sector, and currently remains one of the largest in Europe. According to reports, the 2022 gross gaming revenue (GGR) rose by 31% to €19.6 billion, while tax revenues increased by 28%, reaching €11.2 billion.
The gambling market remains a crucial contributor to the country’s economy, so the Government is committed to making sure regulation is effective. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and her Cabinet aim at using the model associated with state concession and police authorization, with regional authorities and the Treasury set to look for a suitable solution that would stop the chaos in the retail gambling outlets across the country.
Some jurisdictions in Italy, such as the Municipality of Anzola dell’Emilia, have rolled out gaming regulations of their own, a tendency which has created problems and has even resulted in legal battles in the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The different rules in different jurisdictions, on the other hand, have raised various questions, with the licensing procedures in Italy facing criticism. The latest reforms sought by the Government are aimed at eliminating all the controversy.
For the time being, no strict timeline for the changes in the country’s gambling laws and regulations has been unveiled by the Meloni Government, although the country’s Prime Minister has noted that the sooner, the better. If everything goes as planned, the new set of legislative measures may get final approval in less than a year.
The country’s Treasury Deputy Minister Maurizio Leo confirmed that he rmainede optimistic about the planned changes and said he expected to see the proposed legislative decrees approved as early as 2024.