Italian remote gambling extended

The Italian government has initiated a drive to further liberate the country's remote gambling sector by framing new legislation extending licensing to online poker cash games, casino games, betting exchanges and betting on virtual events.

The goal is to submit the proposed laws to the European Commission within the next few months in the hopes of having the law in place by the end of 2009, the head of remote gaming at regulator Amministrazione autonoma dei monopoli dei Stato (AAMS), Francesco Rodano has revealed.

Italy currently licenses online poker tournament games and fixed odds sports betting.

Rodano has suggested that the tax levels for the new online games would be set at 20 percent of gross profits tax, higher than the current 4.5 percent tax on gross gaming revenues in sports betting, and the 3 percent in respect of ggr for poker tournaments and skill games. The rationale for this turns on differing payout ratios

“In tournament poker we can therefore take 3 percent of gross gaming revenues but that would not work in cash games as the operator takes a rake off every pot," Rodano explained. "We will therefore take the tax off operators’ rake; this will allow them to set the rake at commercially viable levels."

Italian online gambling is currently restricted to Italian punters on "internal" networks, but the quest for greater player liquidity has apparently prompted operators to lobby the government to open the closed system to international operators.

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