Casinos for youEach year, the number of gambling platforms increases, resulting in more unlicensed sites being used by Italian players. The EGBA is working towards decreasing the money lost to non-EU sites and ensuring local safety.
It’s a universal truth that when you tell someone not to do something, they want to do that thing even more than before. That has been found true in the case of unregulated and unlicensed online casinos in Italy, where illegal online gambling is estimated at €1 billion annually.
This stat has come directly from the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) - a trade association representing leading gambling operators that are licenced and regulated in the EU.
Since 2007, their goal has been to work with local authorities to ensure a regulated gambling market focusing on player protection and safe betting.
Illegal Betting in Italy
To collectively achieve a betting profit of €1 billion in a year, on €18.5 billion spent on illegal betting, punters in Italy would need to place wagers at unlicensed and unregulated websites. This goes against what the EGBA has worked hard to achieve: a safe and fair market for local players.
Another concerning element is that punters are placing bets on gambling platforms not regulated in the EU. The Secretary General of the EGBA, Maarten Haijer, recently made this statement:Quote
The significant size of Italy's online black market is concerning, yet it is not surprising given that Italy has one of Europe's strictest advertising regimes for its licensed gambling companies. The country's ban on advertising for licensed gambling operators is favouring the black market.
Without a sufficient level of advertising, there is no real way for Italians to tell the difference between a gambling website which holds a license in Italy – and applies the country's consumer protection rules – and one that does not.
It is evident that enforcement action against black market operators is insufficient and that the government needs to revise its advertising rules for gambling to ensure Italian citizens can be well-informed about the licensed websites in the country.
This is a big safety risk as platforms outside of the EU cannot provide players with any protection as safety and security measures fall out of the platform's jurisdiction.
Stone Cold Facts
If security risks alone do not scare Italian players away from unregulated gambling, maybe the hard facts will. Through EGBA estimates, using an average RTP of 95%, the combined gross gaming revenue of both black market platforms and regulated platforms is calculated.
This is what was found:
✓ €1 billion in gambling profits were lost to unlicensed gambling.
✓ The total bets placed at both regulated and unregulated casinos in the previous year totalled €25 billion.
✓ A whopping €18.5 billion of the year’s total bets were placed at illegal gaming sites.
✓ An average of 75% of bets placed in online gambling are all wagered in countries outside of the EU, which means only 25% is spent locally.
These stats show that there is a serious problem when it comes to controlling unregulated markets and that it cannot be ignored in Italy and other countries around the world.
Authorities Take Action
The EGBA established tight rules and regulations that formed the reputable Italian online gambling platforms that are available today. These sites and developers must keep up with prestigious regulatory standards, and collectively, there are 267 online gambling licenses.
Besides the gripping legal requirements, these sites have an average of 32.1 million players registered within the 22 EU countries. Although the EGBA runs a tight ship, it represents approximately 33.33% of Europe's online Gambling Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR).
The Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM) blocked over 9800 unlicensed gambling websites in 2023 alone. The number of sites blocked this year exceeds the total amount blocked the previous year, which is cause for alarm as the number of unregulated sites keeps increasing each year.
Playing Safe is Key
A collective effort is required to reduce the numbers and stop the annual increase of bets placed at unsafe online casinos. Each year, gambling regulations are revised, and the rules surrounding online gambling can change overnight.
Players need to remember that the problem is their safety, and regulations can only go through a revision process if everyone comes to the party. While the EGBA’s Maarten Haijer pointed out that the current advertising restrictions are not helping the cause, it’s important for players to do as much research as possible.
Only play at legal and trusted online casinos in Italy to avoid falling into the hands of a scam artist or having your funds stolen. This is a point where due diligence is vital to safe gambling.
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