Italy is among the largest gambling markets in the world, according to gambling news articles. Although it attracts operators that are looking for global expansion, it has several peculiarities, which are important to know.
Carlo Zuccoli, a consultant for the betting industry, has told Login Casino readers about current regulations in the Italian gambling market.
Carlo, the first question to ask is the ban on betting sponsorships in Italy. How does it influence the sports and bookmaking sectors? What compromise between the government and the sports industry should be reached?
First of all, in Italy, it is prohibited for any individual and/or company to sponsor horse races, increasing the purse.
Concerning sponsorships for other sporting events, which the local bookmakers can do, they are prohibited for the simple reason that in Italy it is absolutely forbidden to promote the bookmaking industry, so no odds are published for any events in newspapers, on TV, etc.
You should bear in mind that in Italy, gambling (I mean betting and gaming) is “owned”, in a certain way, by the government. Bookmakers have a concession (for a certain number of years) given by the government, and to get it, they have to participate in a European tender, bidding quite high.
The bookmakers have a ridiculous turnover at fixed odds on horse racing and a decent one on sports. They pay a GPT (Gross Profit Tax), if any, for every fixed odds market they open with the permission of an agency of the Ministry of Finance. As everybody knows, the online betting industry has a smaller margin than the retail one, so the online bookmakers should pay less tax than those who have betting shops. In Italy, it works the other way round! Every day, more or less, a betting shop closes down – not enough betting turnover and too much overhead.
Every ticket, which the bookmakers issue, has to be validated by a state company called Sogei, and the same company has to validate the results to allow the bookmakers to pay the successful punters.
The liability of the bookmakers for a single bet is quite small, especially for horse racing, so a lot of money goes abroad, even if these operations are forbidden.
What are the biggest challenges of the Italian gambling industry?
No challenge at all for the simple reason that the local bookmakers don’t do any lobbying. I make you an example: every layer has an online business, so their companies are on the net with their offers. Foreign people, who are not registered for tax in Italy, who don’t have a fiscal number, cannot place a bet. So, to be on the net, it doesn’t make sense at all.