Important Facts about Online Gambling in Italy
Following the example of many a European country in the domain of online gambling, the Italian government has decided to cash in on the lucrative market and the significant interest amongst punters in the country back in 2006.
Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies
Having the sole right to issue online gambling licenses to operators, the Government has appointed its agency, AAMS (Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stado – Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies) to take over duties surrounding online gambling and gambling in general. Thereby, the body is in charge of issuing gambling licenses as well as enforcing all administrative procedures concerning gambling.
It wasn't all that simple at first, though – initially, only the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) and the National Horse Breeders Enhancement Society (UNIRE) had the exclusive right to organize sports betting, including online gambling. Then, after the European Commission acted on a complaint they received back in 2003, and realized that Italy does not let other legitimate European operators access the market, it initiated infringement proceedings against Italy in 2006, which led the country to think about the need to change its gambling policies.
Therefore, in 2006 the country first introduced provisions for remote betting, bingo and lotteries, and later on, the same year opened up the possibilities for remote skill games and card games with the Bersani Decree. Then, the Abruzzo decree from 2009 saw Italy further open up the market by legalizing online poker and fixed odds games of chance (casino games), regulating remote betting exchange, virtual betting and betting on video lottery terminals, further regulating sports betting and introducing a gross profit-based flat tax rate of 20%.
A new set of regulations was presented once again in early 2011, when the Italian government allowed cash games of online poker and casino, as well as poker satellites and tourneys, and introduced a minimum 90% payback rate of what is collected from players.
Finally, in Dec. 2012, the AAMS announced the immediate opening of the Italian market for online slots action, which enabled further inflow of operators and taxation possibilities for the state coffers. At present, the AAMS is preparing a consultation initiative to allow operators to offer other games and slots on their bingo websites.
Italian Gaming License
Thanks to all these legislative changes, the Italian market is now able to welcome operators not only based in the EU and EFTA, but even those from an offshore jurisdictions, to apply for an Italian gaming license, as long as they comply with certain financial, technical, social and other business requirements and pay a one-off license fee of €300,000. Also, according to the 2011 Comunitaria decree, the platform of the current operators and the new entrants to the Italian market needs to be fully compliant with the requirements of the decree and the operators must submit the requested documentation on their platform and their company to the AAMS. They will have 30 days to notify AAMS about their intention to continue offering games and then they will get another 90 days to fulfill any other requirements specified in the ‘Comunitaria' decree.
But the licensing procedure itself requires more than just the documentation and the fee – when everything is submitted, the AAMS will take up to three months to review the license application and issue the license. However, before the license enters into force, operators will first need to undergo some sort of authorization procedure – in case of operators that seek to offer casino games, card games and skill games, this implies holding a certificate for their platform and each of their games, issued by an AAMS-accredited certification body.
Highly Regulated Environment
All in all, in terms of online gambling, Italy is at this point known as a highly regulated environment that numerous reputable operators rush into in order to obtain a license that will secure them a piece of the cake called ‘a lucrative market.' A constant improvement of its legislation in this domain implies that the Italian government realizes the need to make the atmosphere on the market more welcoming and thereby more prone to boost its profits, at the same time providing a secure and carefree playing environment for its citizens.
As of 2014 the House of Representatives in Italy passed a bill that modifies the current stipulations on gambling ads. The ruling will not ban TV and radio gambling advertisements instead implement new limitations. As a whole the ruling will not having a major impact on operators advertising for online gambling.