New Italian AWP gaming market is at a turning point?
The regulatory changes impacting the Italian AWP market might speed up as a consequence of initiatives that are currently ongoing.
How the AWP market is likely to change
The rumours on the timing of change of the current AWPs (also known as Comma 6A or NewSlots) have been around for a long time. The plan of the Government has been to
- reduce the current 410,000 machines to around 265,000 AWPs and
- replace the existing machines with a new generation of AWPs that can ensure a higher level of compliance since they can be remotely monitored.
Apparently, the Ministry of Finance is working on the decree that will set the timing of the replacement of the machines and will grant to the Italian gaming authority the authority to set the technical requirements applicable to the new AWP models.
The new technical requirements for AWP machines will still require an approval of the Ministry and, at that stage, they will have to be submitted to the European Commission for the so called 3 month stand still period. As a consequence, its timing of approval might still take some time.
Is the Parliament going to deal with the gaming issue?
The future of the AWP market is also linked to the outcome of the negotiations between the Government and the Municipalities on the location of gaming halls and their time of operation. Despite of the good results achieved by the Italian gaming market in 2016, the lack of such agreement prevented the issue of new licenses which ended up benefitting the current operators that did not see their market position endangered. If no agreement is reached on the matter, it is possible that the Parliament will regulate it, without the involvement of local municipalities in order to find a solution to the current status.
There is no doubt that the current uncertainty is not beneficial for new entrants in the market. But, looking outside of Italian borders, it seems that a number of countries are facing similar situations. Therefore gaming operators and supplies are getting used to it and considering it as part of the risks associated with this business.
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WRITTEN BY GIULIO CORAGGIO
IT, gaming, privacy and commercial lawyer at the leading law firm DLA Piper. You can contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or via phone at +39 334 688 1147.