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Will Italy Answer the Call to Update its Outdated Gambling Act?The Ministry of Finance issued preliminary amendments to the overdue Act of 2011 in Italy. Will industry pros accept these changes, and will punters appreciate the end of black market gambling - or is the price too high?
Italy’s gambling laws have long remained stagnant, but a call for an update to the Gambling Act has been issued. However, it could have serious repercussions.
Falling back to old habits is easy and comfortable, especially when it comes to entertainment. But now that the rules of the game have changed, will the players still indulge? Will underground betting become more elite, and will an old dog change his ways?
The Ministry of Finance in Italy hopes to strengthen the industry governance of gambling and, in doing so, proposes ways punters can enjoy safer gambling, black market betting stops, and increase gambling concessions. So what's the big deal? Let’s find out.
Italy's Gambling Law History
Before games of chance were regulated in Italy, games of skill were legalised in 2007. This change was mandated in the Finance Act amendment, allowing players to win money from games of skill like backgammon, bridge, and chess tournaments.
In 2011, this amendment fully legalised and regulated games of chance, including online poker, casinos, and sports betting, under the Italian gaming authority, Autonomous Administration of State Monopolies (AAMS). This amendment allowed Italy to provide licenses to popular international online gambling operators.
The last stretch to the amendment concluded in 2012, which allowed brick-and-mortar casinos to operate under the same license. Due to the growth in online gambling and to control illegal gambling, this was a political compromise.
The First Regulatory Evaluation
Since legalising gambling in 2011, there has yet to be an evaluation or review of the act, until now. The Minister of Economy and Finance (MEF) is due to release a decree of amendments and resolutions for the gambling sector, and they aren't all pretty.
These long-overdue changes impact punters and operators alike as the decree will change online gambling concessions, licencing fees, and tighter control over illegal and unregulated gambling.
The current act is due for a thorough breakdown with a fine-tooth comb to establish a fairly regulated and well-controlled system for the player's safety.
After a careful review of the current act, the MEF suggested a shinier model with all the bells and whistles to replace this decade-old act. Some important amendments are as follows:
- Increase online gambling concessions at €7 million, which increases by nearly 20 times the average concession of €300,000.
- A maximum of five licenses will be available for each operator, ending the concern raised by Italy's Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM) regarding "skin websites selling single concessionaire products."
- An annual adjustment fee of 2% of the gross revenue may apply to individual concessions.
- Government agencies will be equipped with new controls to end illegal gambling.
This will be the first review and regulatory evaluation, not just in a decade, but since legalizing gambling, the MEF is not expecting everyone's support.
Although some question changes, like the ministry believing concessions should cost much more, the annual adjustments, and new control measures for illegal gambling, the reasoning behind these changes is to protect players.
Summary of Adjustments
Other than the monetary changes, the most important amendment is the action taken towards illegal gambling and ending black market betting, where millions is lost each year.
The hope of creating this Public Gambling Council, as we have seen in Europe, will be to monitor the gambling sector and suggest actions when they are needed. This will assist in the combing out of unlicensed platforms, ending unsafe punting environments, and providing responsible, secure entertainment opportunities.
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