Italy approves “iGaming Reorganisation Decree”

Italy is set to implement an overhaul of its online gambling laws with the validation of the “Reorganisation Decree” by the government. The mandate was suggested by the Ministry of the Economy and Finance (MEF) and aims to resolve ongoing conflicts in the industry. The decree will mark the first regulatory evaluation of gambling in Italy since the market was approved in 2011. Its main objectives are to provide protection for gamblers, especially minors, increase tax revenue for social initiatives and government projects, and combat criminal activities related to gambling.

One of the major changes is the introduction of a new licensing framework, which includes an authorization fee of €7m for each online gambling license. This fee will be accompanied by a 3% concessionaire’s operating fee, as well as a yearly fee of 0.2% of net income for new concessionaires. The revenue generated from these fees will be used to finance responsible gaming campaigns under the supervision of a dedicated gambling division reporting to Italy’s Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM).

The decree also includes the limitation of 5 licensees per operating company, aiming to put an end to the practice of “skin websites” selling individual concessionaire products. While the government anticipates significant revenue from the new licensing framework, the increased fees have raised concerns among industry trade bodies, particularly with a 35-fold increase in regular fees compared to those levied since 2018.

The government has decided to wait for the application process to ascertain the number of Italian operators who will acquire new licenses for iGaming. This delay has been welcomed as it will allow the government to resolve legal disputes regarding licensing extensions.

In addition to the licensing changes, the decree also includes measures to combat non-legal gambling, introduce self-limitation on gambling, protect vulnerable players, enforce customer restrictions based on deposit levels, and block unlicensed payments and websites. However, the decree does not specify changes to the tax for online gambling, as the MEF will wait for the reorganization of laws regulating retail gambling establishments to be completed.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has shown support for the reorganization of the country’s gambling industry, recognizing its significance as a crucial economic factor. The new framework aims to modernize Italy’s online gambling market while addressing various concerns that have emerged in recent years.