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Italy’s New Online Gambling Licenses and Lotto Euro Tender

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Italy Revamps Online Gambling License Framework and Prepares for Lotto Euro Tender

Italy’s government has unveiled a comprehensive overhaul of its online gambling license framework, signaling a significant shift in the regulatory landscape. Published in the parliamentary gazette, the new structure introduces nine-year online gambling concessions, set to be granted by year’s end, with license fees surging to €7 million each. This development coincides with the announcement of a tender for the Lotto Euro game, further emphasizing Italy’s commitment to refining its gambling sector.

A Bold Leap in Licensing Fees

Skyrocketing License Costs

The dramatic increase in license fees—from €200,000 in 2018 to €7 million—reflects the government’s response to the evolving market dynamics, dominated by major operators like SNAI, Lottomatica, Flutter, and Entain. This fee adjustment, coupled with a 3 percent levy on annual gross gaming revenue (GGR) after taxes, aims to foster a more balanced competitive environment, albeit with concerns about its impact on market diversity.

Rationale Behind the Hike

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The Ministry of Finance justifies this hike as a necessary adaptation to the consolidation trends within the industry, where a few large entities have come to dominate the scene. This change intends not only to ensure fair competition but also to resolve ongoing legal disputes over license renewals, presenting a fresh start for operators and regulators alike.

Restructuring for Fair Play and Regulation

Single Platform Limitation

Under the new license terms, operators are restricted to one website and one app per gambling product, eliminating the possibility of affiliated skin websites. This move is designed to streamline the market and prevent any circumvention of regulatory standards.

Enhanced Consumer Protection

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A noteworthy aspect of the technical rules includes mandatory play limits for customers, complemented by alert messages as these thresholds approach. These measures underscore Italy’s dedication to promoting responsible gambling practices.

ADM’s Enhanced Enforcement Powers

The ADM Customs and Monopolies Agency will wield enhanced powers, including the ability to employ payment blocking strategies against unlicensed online gambling activities. This capability represents a robust tool in safeguarding the integrity of Italy’s gambling ecosystem.

The Lotto Euro Opportunity

Tender for a Lucrative Game

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Parallel to the license framework overhaul, the government is gearing up for a tender for the Lotto Euro game. With a forecasted annual turnover of €7.7 billion beyond 2025, this tender is a golden opportunity for operators, starting with a bid of €1 billion. This move indicates the government’s proactive approach to maximizing the game’s revenue potential and ensuring its contribution to the public coffers.

Challenges in Land-Based Gambling Reform

Sluggish Progress on Ground Reforms

While strides are being made in the online sector, reforms in land-based gambling face hurdles, particularly in harmonizing new legislation with the autonomy of Italy’s regions. Despite initial discussions, consensus remains elusive, with regional authorities expressing reservations about the proposed changes.

Anticipated Impacts on the Industry

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The updated legislation aims to address issues surrounding betting shops, arcades, and bingo halls, including spatial requirements and operational hours. However, the path to implementation is fraught with complexity, highlighting the need for a delicate balance between regulatory objectives and regional autonomy.

Conclusion: Navigating the New Italian Gambling Landscape

Italy’s revamped online gambling license framework and the forthcoming Lotto Euro tender mark a pivotal moment in the country’s gambling industry. These developments reflect a broader strategy to modernize the sector, enhance regulatory oversight, and promote responsible gambling. As Italy navigates these changes, the global gaming community watches closely, anticipating the outcomes of these bold initiatives and their implications for operators, regulators, and players alike.

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