Emmanuele Cangianelli, the President of EGP – FIPE, the trade organization of Italian gaming retailers, discussed the features of the betting industry in Italy and shared his thoughts on the latest events in the market.
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Recently, it has become known that the Italian government is going to reform the betting market in the country. Have the leading operators faced any changes or challenges?
The Italian regulated market was set up over 15 years ago. A regulatory update is needed. This attempt has been underway for over 5 years. We hope it is the right time, coming out of the COVID-19 period, to reaffirm the benefits of regulation for consumers and the community, with a balanced distribution between specialized and general retailers and between retail and remote gaming.
What do you expect from the new law by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) to regulate the gambling market in the country?
Certainly, the new regulation must ensure a balanced distribution framework in retail: for many years there has been a conflict of regulations between national and local provisions, which reduces the effectiveness of the regulated market and is not useful for the prevention of addictions. With this new regulation, a national self-exclusion register can be introduced, a responsible gambling solution that is guaranteeing important prevention results in other jurisdictions and in remote gambling in Italy.
What do you think about Football Saving Fund in Italy? Do you think it will change the betting market for the better?
The tax was introduced at the wrong time (after the first lockdown) and in the wrong way (by calculating it on the collection). This formulation strongly penalizes the regulated market and, in particular, makes the betting exchange practically unmanageable. We believe that betting can contribute a lot to the financing of sports activities, but this support must take place, as in the past, with the growing channeling of bets in the regulated market and with withdrawals on the margin.
It’s been almost 3 years since the Italian government banned the advertising on January 1st, 2019. How has it influenced the market during this time? What is your personal observation?
We understand that entertainment services such as gambling may be subject to even severe limitations. However, the Italian regulation of 2019 is excessively restrictive and is causing competitive disadvantages for operators, which have invested in the concession system, to the advantage of non-legal operators in the Italian market. In this sense, the law is certainly counterproductive, also due to the possibility for consumers to recognize authorized operators and, therefore, able to fully guarantee the consumers themselves.