Italian gambling sector told to prepare for “industry reorganisation”

The Italian government has told the gambling sector to get ready for “industry reorganisation in the coming months”. The National Conservative coalition government under prime minister Giorgia Meloni has assigned treasury deputy Italo Volpe to oversee the initiative and “bring stability to the market”.

Volpe will be joined by Sandra Savino from Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia as a new undersecretary to review the gambling sector. The review will be carried out in the context of the 2023 Tax Reform Bill, which reviews federal VAT and income, business and pension taxes.

Volpe told a conference in Rome:

“A regulatory intervention in the market must be carried out: it is reasonable to assume that in the tax reform bill, there must also be a chapter dedicated to the gambling sector.”

He said that a new general framework including rules for gambling venues, shop distances, opening times and problem gambling measures would be ready for April. However, he said a more complete six-to-12-month review would be needed to analyse the lack of market competition in the sector.

Meanwhile, a possible positive change for gambling operators is the appointment of Roberto Alesse, the former chief of staff for civil protection minister Nello Musumeci, to replace Marcello Minenna as president of the customs and monopolies agency ADM.

Minenna’s hard stance on gambling frequently saw the regulator act against the gambling sector, and the ADM’s attempt to halve the number of gambling concessions ended in chaos, with parliament having to intervene to order the ADM to extend licences until 2024.

It was reported in December that the Italian government was also evaluating the possibility of partially lifting the ban on gambling sponsorships in football. Italy approved the ban back in 2018 but the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has been calling for authorities to suspend it to allow money to flow into the body and clubs following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Milan-based Gazzetta dello Sport has reported that the federal government is considering reforms that would allow at least some betting companies to sponsor teams, including in Serie A. It notes that the ban is estimated to have cost Italian football clubs around €100m in potential sponsorship revenues.


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