Since 2018, an anti-gambling government has been in power in Italy. However, before the previous governmental body left office they drafted up reformed online gambling licensing frameworks – and this framework allowed for up to 120 online gambling licenses to be issued. The regulatory body in charge of gambling licenses in Italy is the Agenzia delle Dogane dei Monopoli (ADM), and they have recently announced plans to begin issuing these gambling licenses. This comes despite the government’s opposition to online gambling.

The licenses issued by the ADM will be effective until December 31st, 2022, and they cover fixed-odds, pooled sports betting, table games, card games, poker, bingo, and fixed-odds betting between players. At the moment, these licenses do not cover any form of online lotteries.

While the deadline for operators to apply for one of these licenses was March 19th, 2019, the ADM handed out a number of licenses before this date, though the number of applications was lower than anticipated. Experts cite the government’s blanket ban on gambling advertising as the core reason for this. Operators, it seems, would rather invest time and money into more lucrative markets.

Currently, operators must pay an application fee of €200,000 (£176,000) to apply for a license. If all 120 licenses were issued, this would bring in €24 million (£21.2 million) for Italian authorities.

ADM Brings In New Licensing Procedure

For the past few years the ADM has been working on structuring new laws for online gambling in Italy. One of the major focuses has been on refining its anti-money laundering procedures. They have also been working on making operators perform new checks on customers before they’re able to deposit funds – ensuring underage gambling is minimized as much as possible.

To date, the ADM has finalized licenses for some 67 new operators who wish to enter the Italian market. This includes the likes of William Hill, bwin, Bet365, Pokerstars and Betfair. They also renewed existing licenses. These renewals included Microgame, Eurobet, Sisal and Snaitech.

So far, these new licenses have brought in €13.4 (£11.8) million. Also worth noting is the increase in taxation; in 2019 the coalition government increased taxes on online casino revenue by 5% – up to 25%. This increase was expected to generate an additional €51 (£45) million every year.

While the ADM look to be keen to issue licenses, they also rejected a number of license applications. These operators included Rating Consulting, Play Live Ltd, Pi Piper Ltd, Betclic Ltd, Goal & Gaming srl and Rabbit Entertainment. Some of these operators have indicated they will appeal the refusal – Goal & Gaming srl, for example, have already taken the case to the Administrative Court of Rome.

Online gambling in Italy is still a fairly new concept, and how well it fares – and whether the government will continue to allow it – remains to be seen. For now, at least, it’s promising to see the ADM taking a proactive approach in issuing licenses, and Italian players now have more choice than ever before when gambling online.

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