Gaming and betting 2021: Law and practice
Published in CHAMBERS - GLOBAL PRACTICE GUIDES - GAMING LAW 2021 (practiceguides.chambers.com). Contributed by Attorney Stefano Sbordoni, Attorney Francesca Dionisi, Attorney. Sabina Monaco (Sbordoni & Partners law firm) (all rights reserved)
LAW AND PRACTICE (contributed by Attorney Stefano Sbordoni, Attorney Francesca Dionisi, Attorney Sabina Monaco) (all righits reserved).
In 2020 the volume of betting in Italy, according to the annual report presented on September 10th 2021 by the Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM), reaching a value of 88.38 billion euros, fell by 20% compared to 2019. This drastic decline was determined by the closures of gaming locations imposed by the Italian Government to limit the spread of Covid-19.
The per capita collection -calculated on the adult population residing in Italy as surveyed by ISTAT- is approximately 1,760 euros. Spending also decreased (12.96 billion: -33%) and tax collections (7.24 billion: -36%).
The total deposits on the terrestrial network amounted to € 39.1 billion (47.2% less than in 2019).
The Regulator has supported the interpretation of an Emergency Decree that allows an extension of all ongoing concessions until 31.12.22
It is on the table of discussions, with the support of large part of the stakeholders, private and public, a possible a suspension of the ban on gaming advertising until June 2023
Amusement machines -namely slot machines and VideoLottery- were the most penalized by the closures of 2020, recording a drop of about 60%. Nonetheless, this type of game is confirmed as the most practiced on the land based network (48% of the total collection). Lotteries follow, including the instant ones - Scratch and Win - with over 8 billion euros of games (20.7% of the total) and the various types of Lotto, 6.2 billion games (15.9% of the total).
The decline in bets on entertainment machines had repercussions on tax revenues. In 2019 slot machines and VideoLottery guaranteed 63.4% of the total tax revenue guaranteed by gambling, but in 2020 the percentage dropped to 44.6%.
1.2 Recent Changes
The entire gaming and betting sector, especially land based, had a decrease in 2020 compared to 2019 due to the closures consequent to the Covid19 pandemic emergency.
The shut downs of the terrestrial gaming network have further fueled online gaming, a modality that has been on the rise for several years. In 2020, there was a temporary overtaking: online wagers amounted to 49.2 billion euros (+ 35% compared to 2019), 55.7% of total bets in Italy.
In the online overall collection, the so-called fixed odds card games and games of chance, amount to over two thirds of the total online collection. Poker Cash and sports-based games are also on the rise.
As mentioned above, due to limitations imposed by the Covid 19 pandemic On Online, the variety of Online platforms increases the ease of access for users, especially from mobile devices.
Online slots have become the most favoured as well, surpassing poker, also thanks to the flexibility of being able to play wherever you are and with a wide range of games available.
Lastly the Italian Government adopted measures aimed at recovering the country from the Covid-19 emergency. But over two months of lockdown had a considerable negative impact on several sectors, including the sports sector.
The new law aims at dealing with the Covid-19 emergency providing for a new 0.5% sports betting tax in Italy calculated on turnover generated by bets, net of other gambling taxes due (i.e., 24% in case of online sports betting and 22% in case of bets on virtual events) from the coming into force of the law up to the end of 2021.
The initial proposal provided a 0.3% tax which has now been increased to 0.5%, but the duration of the tax was shortened since it will apply up to the end of 2021, rather than 2022, as provided in the first draft. Also, there is some disinformation on the actual scope, since it is not a turnover tax as the law decree indicates that the taxable basis is the turnover net of sports betting tax.
Such disinformation has now been clarified through a decree issued by the Italian gambling authority ADM, which confirmed the above-mentioned scope of the applicable tax and also set the relevant payment terms. The new tax will be paid every quarter starting from the end of November 2020 through a tax code that still needs to be released by the tax authority. However, the amount due will be displayed in the ADM system, as occurs for other gambling taxes.
Due to COVID-19, the Italian Care Decree No 18 / 2020 provides:
the extension of the terms for calling tenders relating to: entertainment machines, remote game, betting and bingo; and
the extension of the deadline for the replacement of gaming machines and for the entry into force of the single register of public gaming operators.
Further, the August Decree No 104 / 2020 provides for the extension of the terms of the technical-organisational and economic obligations required by the award of the tender for national totalisator numerical games.
Due to COVID-19, the Relaunch Decree No 34 / 2020 ordered the establishment of the "Fund for the relaunch of the national sports system" and until 31 December 2021 a share equal to 0.5% of the total wagers relating to sporting events, including virtual ones, carried out both online and through traditional channels, is paid to the State and is destined for the Fund.
With the Law Decree n. 65 of May 18th 2021 containing "Urgent measures relating to the epidemiological emergency from COVID-19", from 1 July 2021 the activities of amusement arcades, betting rooms, bingo halls and casinos were reopened in the yellow zone, even if carried out within local used for different activities.
The 2021 budget law (paragraph 1130) sets a new deadline for the granting of concessions game for the collection of Bingo, postponing the deadline set by the legislation by 24 months in force, until March 31, 2023. Paragraph 1131 establishes that the payment of the fee due by subjects operating under an extension of the expired concession for the months from January 2021 to June 2021 can be carried out by the ten day of the following month, to the extent of 2,800 euros for each month or fraction of a month over fifteen days and 1,400 euros for each fraction of a month of less than fifteen days. Paragraphs 1132 and 1133 specify that the residual portion for the coverage of the entire amount of the extension fee must be paid by the holders of concession that choose the reduced payment method for the first half of 2021, with installments monthly payments of the same amount, with due legal interest calculated on a day-to-day basis, starting from July 2021 and by 10 December 2022.
2 Jurisdictional Overview
The following online gaming sectors are allowed and regulated in Italy:
1) sports betting:
fixed odds betting
3) skill games:
online instant lotteries
5) fixed odds game:
6) fixed-odds betting
7) horse racing betting odds
horse racing betting
8) Betting exchange
However, the exercise of part of these activities is permitted only on “.it” sites authorised by the Italian State and never on “.com” sites. As a result, all online gaming sites must have an ADM licence in order to operate legally. Otherwise, the regulation allows the Authority to block the websites considered illegal.
10) Fantasy sports and eSports are in the process of regulation
11) Social gaming, only for fun without real money, are permitted
The following games are land based:
Entertainment machines/ gaming machines
VLT gaming systems, or VLT
2) sports betting:
fixed odds betting
fixed odds game:
traditional lottery (so called Lotteria Italia)
horse racing betting odds
horse racing betting
There are only four brick and mortar casinos authorised by the Italian State, all located in towns along the northern borders: in Sanremo, Campione d’Italia, Venice and Saint Vincent.
3 Legislative Framework
3.1 Key Legislation
In Italy, gaming is regulated by a large number of national and regional laws/provisions and pending an effective systematic reorganisation aimed at a reconciliation between entrepreneurial and social good.
. Civil and Criminal Codes
The civil and criminal codes contain a few rules dedicated to gaming.
Articles 1933-1935 of the Civil Code regulate the payment of winnings and establish that the payment of the post cannot be the subject of a legal action in the absence of fraud, unless the object of the bet is a sport, a running or weapons competition or a legally authorised lottery.
Articles 718-723 of the Criminal Code establish penalties for those who organise and participate in illegal or unauthorised gambling activities, ranging from arrest and imprisonment to fines of a monetary nature. Article 721 defines games of chance as those in which the purpose of profit occurs and the winnings or losses are entirely or almost entirely random.
. The Consolidated Law on Public Safety (TULPS)
The Consolidated Law on Public Safety (the so called TULPS, Royal Decree of June 18,1931 and subsequent updates) establishes:
the necessary authorisations to legally exercise an activity related to gambling and imposes the obligations relating to managers;
prohibits gambling for minors;
establishes the system of concessions and authorisations for the exercise of bets (Article 88); and
regulates the activity of game rooms with AWP and VLT (Article 110).
. Law 401/1989 on "sports fraud" ("Interventions in the gambling and clandestine betting sector and protection of fairness in the conduct of sporting events"), by virtue of which he is punished with imprisonment up to 6 years and sanctioned with fines of up to € 50,000 whoever, among other things, “illegally exercises the organization of the game of lotto or betting or prediction competitions that the law reserves to the State or other concessionary body…. organizes bets or prediction competitions on sports activities managed by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI), by the organizations dependent on it or by the Italian Union for the increase of equine breeds (UNIRE) ..... illegally exercises the organization of public bets on other competitions involving people or animals and skill games .... organizes, exercises and remotely collects, without the prescribed concession, any game established or regulated by the Customs and Monopoly Agency ... ".
. Legislator intervention
Since 1998, the legislator has intervened several times to combat illegal gaming.
With law 266/2005 it defines the role of Customs and Monopoly Agency (ADM) with the task of supervising games with cash prizes and countering operators without Italian authorisation.
. Liberalization measures
The liberalisation measures of the early 2000s (Bersani decree No 223 / 2006, converted into law No 248 / 2006) are fundamental for the emergence of illegal Italian gaming (estimated at about EUR25 billion in 2015) and for the development of a legal sector, with favourable economic (employment, tax revenues, increased consumption) and social consequences (channelling into legitimate circuits, monitoring of cash flows and problem gamblers, previously at the mercy of clandestine markets).
Law 296/06 introduces totaliser number games.
From 2009 to 2011, the legislator dedicated many regulations to the protection of minors under 18, with an absolute ban on gaming and increased penalties against internet sites and physical establishments that do not implement the necessary measures (laws No 88/2009 and No 98 / 2011).
The Balduzzi Decree No 158/2012 is the first to deal with gambling addiction, with interventions on advertising.
Law No 208/2015 (2016 stability) provides for the definition by the State-Regions Unified Conference of the characteristics of the points of sale, of the criteria for their territorial distribution / concentration for the purpose of health protection and public order.
The Dignity decree No 87/2018 prohibits advertising of gambling both online and offline, aiming to limit its impact especially on young people; increases tax withdrawals on slot/vlt;
Over the years, many local authorities (municipalities and regions have limited regulatory powers to issue additional gambling regulations in their territories) have also tried to propose restrictive initiatives aimed at reducing the phenomenon of gambling, especially as far as it concerns VLT rooms and slot machines, with interventions on minimum times and distances from so-called sensitive places, such as schools. Therefore, legal disputes often occur between sector operators and local administrations on the correct interpretation of national regulations and on the measures adopted by local authorities.
3.2 Definition of Gambling
Gambling is characterised by chance, and where the ability of the player is not relevant, and by the profit making interest of the parties.
3.3 Definition of Land-Based Gambling
The Land-Based Gambling or offline game includes all the activities of games performed on physical sites (casinos, betting rooms, etc). See above paragraph 2.2.
3.4 Definition of Online Gambling
Online gaming includes bets, games and lotteries that can be run remotely, usually with connected devices such as smartphones, tablets and PCs.
3.5 Key Offences
Articles 718-723 of the Criminal Code establish penalties for those who organize and participate in illegal or unauthorised gambling activities, ranging from arrest and imprisonment to fines of a monetary nature. Article 721 defines games of chance as those in which the purpose of profit occurs and the winnings or losses are entirely or almost entirely random.
3.6 Penalties for Unlawful Gambling
The Italian Criminal Code provides for two distinct cases in relation to gambling, namely "exercise" and "participation", governed respectively by Articles 718 and 720.
The first punishes anyone who, in a public place or place open to the public or in private circles of any kind, plays a game of chance or facilitates it. The penalty is imprisonment from three months to one year and a fine of no less than EUR206.
The second punishes anyone who, in a public place or place open to the public or in private circles of any kind, without having participated in the offense provided for in Article 718, is caught while taking part in gambling. In this case, the sanction imposed is imprisonment for up to six months or a fine of up to EUR516.
Of course, the reference is to games not authorised by the Italian State.
3.7 Pending Legislation
See 1.2 Recent Changes
4 Licensing and Regulatory Framework
4.1 Regulatory Authority
The main regulatory authority of the gambling industry is the Customs Monopoly Agency (ADM)
4.2 Regulatory Approach
In Italy, the organisation and operation of games and bets are activities exclusively reserved to the State and to the public entities specifically identified by the legislation. As a result, there is a sort of “public exclusivity” in the gaming sector in Italy, whereby the private individuals may only participate as “concessionaire” or entity “specifically authorised”.
To acquire a licence/concession it is necessary to apply for a public tender.
4.3 Types of Licences
There are main categories of licences:
online licenses (poker, casino games and betting)
land bases licences (awp and vlt, betting)
mono concessionaire (lotto and lotteries, superenalotto)
4.4 Availability of Licences
To obtain the licences, it is necessary to participate in public tenders and obtain the relative titles. All licences entail a lengthy process and, therefore, there are no licences readily available.
4.5 Duration of Licences
The duration of the licence varies according to the type of Licence and is sometimes extended with specific regulatory measures.
4.6 Application Requirements
A public tender is issued by a law. A term is fixed, more or less 6 month from the publishing of the tender.
Key requirements in the previous tenders were:
a) gaming operator, with a gaming licence issued in any country in the European market community(for at least one of the games authorized in Italy) or technical capacity – infracture compliant almost to offer one authorized game by ADM, and a bank/ insurance guarantee with a fixed amount established depending from the type of Licence;
b) capital requirement with a minimum established depending from the type of Licence reported in the approved financial statements of the last two years of activity of the company, referred to the gaming sector;
c) no requirement for servers to be located in Italy (although they must be located within the territory of a Member State of the EEA);
d) other requirements for the company and for the member of board and directors (moral probity)
4.7 Application Timing
For licence applications, the timescale varies according to the type of licence, the progress of the calls for tender, the necessary bureaucratic requirements and the completion of the checks. Generally, it takes several months.
4.8 Application Fees
The fees associated with licence applications vary according to the type of licence.
4.9 Ongoing Annual Fees
The applicable annual fees vary according to the type of licence.
5 Land-Based Gambling
5.1 Premises Licensing
The licence requirements of a premise include the Licence n issued by ADM, following the participation and awarding of a tender, and authorisation pursuant to Articles 86 or 88 TULPS (see also 3.1).
As for the authorisation pursuant to Article 86, according to the TULPS, public rooms for lawful games cannot be exercised without the commissioner's licence.
With reference to AWP and VLT ex. Article 110, paragraphs 6 lett. a) and lett. b) and 7, the licence is also necessary:
for production or import activities;
for distribution and management activities, even indirect; and
for installation in commercial or public establishments other than those already in possession of other licences referred to in the first or second paragraph, referred to in Article 88, or for installation in other areas open to the public or in private clubs.
5.2 Recent or Forthcoming Changes
Regarding recent or forthcoming changes to the land-based gambling sector see 1.2 Recent Changes
6 Online Gambling
6.1 B2C Licences
Observing the trend of the collection relating to remote gaming, it is evident that in recent years the habits of gambling in Italy have changed. The trend of this figure is in fact growing and this shows that the interests of players in Italy are increasingly oriented in favor of remote gaming modes. (According to the annual report presented on September 10th 2021 by the Customs and Monopolies Agency, The value of the collection relating to online gaming is in any case significantly increased in 2020 compared to previous years, as probably the pandemic wave and the consequent lockdown have encouraged the use of virtual gaming. The amount of the Collection in 2020 is, in fact, 20.28 % higher than the expected figure based on the observation of previous years.
At the end of 2019, Italy awarded concessions for the provision of online gambling services in the country and ADM communicated the list of candidates authorised to operate in the local market with licenses valid until 31 December 2022. The list includes the betting operator Lottomatica, as well as the local subsidiaries of international companies such as bet365, The Stars Group and GVC Holdings, among others.
The bans on gambling advertising in Italy have undoubtedly generated repercussions on the country's regulated market.
6.2 B2B Licences (Suppliers, Software, Etc)
There is no need, for a company offering a virtual sports product on a B2B basis to a B2C operator, to hold a gaming licence.
All activities are legal, as long as the gambling operator holds an Italian gambling licence or has a business arrangement with an Italian licence holder.
At the moment “affiliates” are not regulated in the Italian gaming market.
6.4 White Labels
Skins have become a very widespread phenomenon in the online gaming market in Italy.
Skin, under Italian law, is a sort of promoter of the Concessionaire. In most cases, the affiliation agreement in use is referred to as an “agreement for the promotion of remote public games on behalf of the licensee”.
Therefore, according to this discipline, the owner of the skin, during the promotion phase, must clearly specify and highlight the concession to which it is connected, so that the player can recognize the main poker room (responsible for the contract).
The website used as a white label has to be certified by an EVA (third party certification) by the Concessionaire.
6.5 Recent or Forthcoming Changes
Law no. 160 of December 27, 2019 (State budget for the financial year 2020 and multi-year budget for the three-year period 2020-2022) contain the provision of issuing a tender providing for ONLY 40 rights to be able to offer remote gaming (so-called "online gaming"). Actually the price for each right (Licence) is euro 2M as auction base.
Due to Covid pandemic the tender has been postponed. There is not a fixed date yet.
6.6 Technical Measures
There are technical measures to protect consumers from unlicensed operators, avoid infringements or protect payments. In particular, ADM banned more than 10.000,00 unauthorised sites and there is a list of such unauthorised operators.
7 Responsible Gambling
7.1 RG Requirements
ADM "has the primary objective of ensuring players a legal and responsible gaming environment, regulated and monitored constantly, and guaranteeing responsible gaming, in particular protecting minors and vulnerable groups sensitive to phenomena such as problem gambling". Gaming Concessionaires are therefore asked to adhere to the guidelines drawn up by ADM, in order to guarantee healthy and responsible gaming, in full respect of the health of the players. Further, there is a brand that wants to differentiate legal gaming sites from illegal ones, in order to protect the operators themselves as much as possible and to guarantee, above all, the health of the players and their safety.
The main methods to combat gambling addiction, and to encourage legal and responsible gambling are detailed below.
It is allowed for the player to be self excluded from the gaming account, ie, Concessionaire can temporarily suspend the account when the situation is becoming problematic. With this option, the access to the player to the Concessionaire website is blocked temporarily, but also indefinitely.
It is mandatory for the Concessionaire to make the player fix a limit to the maximum spending budget. T
Gambling Addiction Support
It has created a free telephone number that can be contacted in an absolutely anonymous form, to ask for help and to understand how to solve gambling addiction. Many Concessionaires on their websites publish lists and telephone numbers of Association eligible to provide support for gaming addiction.
The Responsible Gaming Portal
There is the possibility of consulting the Responsible Gaming portal, a free service, managed by professional consultants who offer an assistance service. The service consists of a team of professional psychologists, flanked by other consultants specialised in psychiatry, law, etc.
7.2 Gambling Management Tools
Operators must take all measures aimed at:
distinguishing between legal and illegal gaming, contrasting, with warnings and information, the enjoyment of gaming controlled and guaranteed by the State to the negative consequences of the illegal one;
disseminating, through various channels, measures to raise awareness of responsible gaming conduct to protect players, providing information about the potential risks of gambling, self-protection measures for players, insertion of tests for the purposes of self-assessment of their approach to the game/bet, reference within the site to the web page of ADM dedicated to "safe gaming";
guaranteeing maximum transparency regarding the rules and the probability of winning;
providing all the useful, essential and simple tools to ensure that the player can express any complaints; and
protecting minors, clearly specifying the ban on minors under the age of 18.
8 Anti-money Laundering
8.1 AML Legislation
The Italian anti-money laundering legislation has been completely rewritten by the Legislative Decree No. 90 of May 25, 2017 (the “Decree”), implementing the EU Directive 2015/849 on “the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing". The Decree replaced inter alia the Legislative Decree No. 231/2007.
The Decree is applicable to intermediaries operating on a “cross-border” basis in Italy and more in general to the “categories of obligated subjects” identified by the Decree, as gaming service providers.
ADM, with note n. 27571 / R.U. of February 15, 2019, provided additional guidelines to help Concessionaires with anti-money laundering and risk mitigation.
8.2 AML Requirements
The ADM guidelines (note n. 27571 / R.U. of February 15, 2019) for the new remarks are directed mainly to Concessionaires of the following gaming sector:
- Online game and land based Concessionaire;
- Entertainment devices pursuant to art. 110 paragraph 6 letter b) of the T.U.L.P.S.;
- Fixed odds betting, horse racing and sports.
All the provisions are mandatory to concessionaires, distributors and operators of the VLT to:
(i) verify the identity of the customers;
(ii) save the data for each individual "ticket" for an amount equal to or greater than 500,00 euros.
In addition, VLT distributors and operators must send the customer data and transaction details to the dealer within 10 days of play.
As regards the operators of casinos (casinos) and betting shops, land based, they are also required to identify and verify customers who request or perform one or more gaming operations, for a total amount equal to or greater than 2,000.00 euros (from the 1st January 2022 the threshold it has been lowered to euro 1000,00) .
Furthermore, there is the general obligation to verify customers "in all cases where there is a suspicion of money laundering or terrorist financing".
Last but not least, becomes effective the obligation of Concessionaires to verify possession and control of the reputational/moral requirements of distributors and exhibitors, and when these requirements no longer exist, due to serious or repeated infractions detected, are activated the mechanisms of immediate extinction of the contractual relationship.
These guidelines for the aid of gaming concessionaires are considered as minimal as the concessionaire has the possibility to adopt any further measures.
Control Procedures and Systems
9.1 Regulatory/Supervisory Agency
The relevant agency is the Authority for Communications Guarantees (AGCOM). The Communications Authority is an independent Authority, established by Law 249 of 1997.
9.2 Definition of Advertising
For communications with promotional or commercial content, is intended "any form of communication spread upon payment or other compensation, or for purposes of self-promotion, in order to promote, directly or indirectly, the goods, services or image of a natural person or legal activity that carries out an economic activity and includes television advertising, sponsorship, telesales with a mainly promotional purpose and product placement " as stated by art. 3, Definitions lett. b) of the guidelines issued by AGCOM.
9.3 Key Legal, Regulatory and Licensing Provisions
Decree-law No 87 of 2018 (converted into law 9 August 2018, No 96) a ban on advertising on gambling activities has been established , including sponsorships and forms of even direct and indirect advertising. In particular, Article 9 concerns the prohibition of any form of advertising, even indirect, relative to games or bets with winnings of money, regardless of the medium used (radio, TV, press, internet, etc), including sporting events, cultural or artistic.
9.4 Restrictions on Advertising
On 26 April 2019, AGCOM (the authority invested by the Government in governing the subject) published the guidelines.
In accordance with the provisions of art. 5 paragraph 1 of the guidelines, is prohibited any form of advertising, even indirect, sponsorship, or communication, with promotional content of the game with money prizes.
Shall be considered as prohibited commercial communications - taking into account that it is considered irrelevant the prior consent given by the player to receive commercial communication - by way of example:
- product placement;
- the distribution of branded gadgets of gaming products;
-the organization of events with prizes consisting of branded products;
- prize events as defined and qualified by the d.p.r. 26 October 2001, n. 430;
- editorial advertising;
The following activities are excluded from the banning :
mere informations about the products, the gaming bonuses with no incentive to gambling
business-to-business commercial communications, including specialised press;
social responsibility communications,“cause related marketing” communications, made in the form of a summons from the concessionaire as the lender of a specific project or initiative of a social and charitable nature, without displaying the brand or logo;
services of comparing odds between bookmakers
For each violation is provided the application of a pecuniary administrative sanction of the amount of 5% of the value of the sponsorship or advertising , not less than, the amount of EUR50,000 to be paid by the infringer or by the owner of website or Tv or radio as well.
10 Acquisitions and Changes of Control
10.1 Disclosure Requirements
The acquisition and change of control of the gaming companies depends on the type of Licence held.
Infact, all the Concessionaires in any kind of Licence under the regulation are subject to any direct investigation or suitability assessment by the gaming authority.
10.2 Change of Corporate Control Triggers
The company chart has to be disclosed till the UBO.
10.3 Passive Investor Requirements
Regulatory bodies can:
declare the forfeiture of the concession and revoke concessions and licenses in the event of violations by the operators or in the event of the lack of the requisites required by current legislation;
request payment of concession fees, plus penalties and interest;
enforce the sureties provided by the concessionaires;
blocking unauthorised gaming sites; and
act for any compensation for damage.
The sanctions are applied by issuing administrative measures, which can be contested by the interested party before the judicial authority.
The enforcement of administrative sanctions is very frequent.
11.3 Financial Penalties
The penalties are applied by issuing administrative measures, which can be contested by the interested party before the judicial authority.
12 Recent Trends
12.1 Social Gaming
Social gaming is not currently regulated in Italy. However, if real money is involved in the prize mechanism, this automatically triggers the application of the ADM regulations on skill gaming, and the offeror must hold an Italian gaming licence. If no cash is involved but non-monetary prizes have a non-token value, the ADM rules on skill gaming do not apply but the offeror must comply with the ministerial regulations concerning competitions with prizes.
In Italy, there have been esports since 1980 but, due to the absence of certain legislation, bureaucracy, lack of important sponsorships, inadequate internet structures , esports have not yet reached the levels reached abroad.
According to a survey carried out by the company Demoskopea Consulting in 2020, 62% of the Italian population between 18 and 64 years (about 22.8 million) knows Esports and there are about 5 million regular eSports players.
Knowledge of football-themed virtual games reaches 50% of the 18-64 year-old population, with a consumption penetration of 35%.
In Italy their discipline at the moment varies between GAMBLING (as participation in an ESPORT competition involves not only the payment of an entry fee, but also a cash prize) and PRIZE EVENTS (Competitions or prize operations) regulated by the DPR n. 430/2001 ("Regulation concerning the organic revision of the discipline of competitions and prize operations, as well as local events of fate pursuant to art. 19, paragraph 4, of law no. 449 of 27 December 1997").
In 2014, a change occurred regarding competitive electronic games, the sports sector of ASI, a body recognised by CONI, began to take care of creating regulations in the sector, supporting the nascent Amateur Sports Associations, ASD. Recently, training schools have even sprung up for the roles of referees, coaches, analysts and esports commentators.
12.3 Fantasy Sports
Fantasy sports and electronic sports are not currently regulated in Italy. However, if real money is involved in the prize mechanism, this automatically triggers the application of the ADM regulations on skill gaming, and the offeror must hold an Italian gaming licence. If no cash is involved but non-monetary prizes have a non-token value, the ADM rules on skill gaming do not apply but the offeror must comply with the ministerial regulations concerning competitions with prizes.
12.4 Skill Gaming
See above comment on 12.1 and 12.3
Compared to the traditional gaming industry, the blockchain gaming niche is still quite new and relatively small. Despite this, there are hundreds of Apps and video games developed on blockchain networks.
See 12 Recent Trends.
13.1 Tax Rate by Sector
In the general application of the Italian gambling tax system, the criteria is the same.
i) for fixed odds bets, excluding horse racing bets, in the measures of 20 percent, if the collection takes place on a physical network, and 24 percent, if the collection takes place remotely, applied on the difference between the amounts played and the winnings paid.
ii) It is also the same for the remote collection of games at fixed terms (giochi di sorte a quota fissa; an: roulette, casinò) and card games (an: cash game in poker and other games online) held in a different form from the tournament, for which the single tax rate is applied only to the amounts paid to play for each game, which, according to the rules of the game, are not returned to the player; this equals to 25 percent of the total sum.
iii) For remote skill games with cash prizes and for remote bingo games, to the extent of 25 percent of the sums which, according to the game rules, are not returned to the player.
iv) Article 4 of the legislative decree n. 504 establishes the rates, differentiated for the prediction competitions (26.80 percent) and for different categories of totalization bets (20 percent) and fixed odds (with rates ranging between 2 and 8 percent on different events from horse racing and for bets with direct interaction between individual players).
v) For each type of totalizator and fixed odds horse racing bet (except the totalizator bet on horse races called National Winner and National Coupled) the rate is equal to 15.70 per cent of the withdrawal quota established for each bet
For sure, in the “peer to peer” mode, it is not possible to determine a tax base on the revenue. So, for the Licensee the commission is the only base of the applicable gaming taxes. Because the Concessionaire in this case provides only the betting platform.
Article 39, paragraph 13, of decree-law No 269 of 2003 established the single tax levy (PREU), originally set at 13.5% of the amounts wagered, which applies to amusement and entertainment machines suitable for lawful gaming identified by Article 110, paragraph 6, letter a), AWP or new slot, and letter b), VLT of the consolidated text of public safety laws TULPS..
The amount of the levy has been increased several times over the years. Article 9, paragraph 6, of the law decree No 87 of 2018 (so-called dignity decree), increased the PREU on the aforementioned devices, setting the rates in the following way:19.25% AWP and 6.25% VLT of the amount of the amounts wagered starting from 1 September 2018;
19.6% AWP and 6.65% VLT from 1 May 2019;
19.68% AWP and 6.68% VLT from 1 January 2020;
19.75% AWP and 6.75% VLT from 1 January 2021;
19.6% AWP and 6.6% VLT from 1 January 2023.
The VAT rate, provided for in Article 74 of the D.P.R. 26 October 1972, n. 633, which is applied on the same taxable basis as the tax on entertainment and exclusively to games for which no cash prize is expected.
Since 2012, by decree of the general director of ADM of 12 October 2011, a levy has been introduced on the part of the winnings exceeding EUR500,00 for some games.