The Italian iGaming market is about to undergo the most radical reform since its launch in 2011. Suggested by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), it is known as the Reorganization Decree. The reform ushers in some major changes seeking to increase license costs, combat criminal activities, and introduce robust player protection mechanisms. The Italian government announced its approval of the decree’s terms this Tuesday.
As per the new licensing framework, the concessions will be limited to five licenses for each operator. They will be subjected to an authorization fee of €7 million, representing a 35-fold increase from the current one, which stands at €200,000. Along with the updated license fee, an operating fee of 3% will also apply. In addition, concessionaires will be charged with a 0.2% annual fee of their net revenues.
The Italian government aims to raise funds to promote responsible gambling initiatives that will be monitored by a newly-formed unit, reporting to the Authority of Customs and Monopolies (ADM). The expected revenues stand at €200 million for 2024 and €150 million for 2025, while the concession fee will generate annual proceeds of €100 million. Registration fees will bring in an additional €6 million in annual revenue.
Besides the monetary aspect, the decree includes measures to thwart criminal activities and illegal gambling. They concern the blocking of unlicensed operators, to curb black market proliferation, which has been estimated at €1 billion.
The decree also focuses on vulnerable groups of players (especially minors) by introducing gambling self-limitations and restrictions based on deposit amounts. Strengthening self-exclusion mechanisms is also high on the agenda of the decree.
Gambling Unions in Italy Disapprove of the License Fee Increase
Acadi, the Italian online gambling trade association, and Logico, the association for slot machine vendors, have voiced their concerns over the proposed reforms ahead of their implementation. They warned the government not to proceed with the reform, without feedback from the gambling industry.
According to government expectations, roughly 50 operators, out of Italy’s current 83 operators will apply for licenses, following the introduction of the new fees.
Furthermore, as CasinoGamesPro already reported last month, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has also expressed its concerns over the Reorganization Decree, highlighting its impact on licensed operators, player protections, and the expected spike in black market gambling.
In contrast, Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s Prime Minister, has expressed her support for overhauling the land-based and online gambling sector, defining it as a major contributor to the country’s economy.
The Reorganization Decree is the third attempt of the Italian government over the last decade to reform the gambling sector, with the previous two failing due to political issues or opposition from the public.