As anticipated, I attended this week the Legal Gaming in Europe Conference and the IGE. Since I have noticed that a number of operators were addressing me the same kind of questions and concerns about the Italian online gaming regime, I had the idea to publish some FAQs that might help operators to approach the Italian gaming market:
Q. – Why do I need an Italian gaming license to enter into the Italian gaming market? My company already holds a foreign gaming license, what are the benefits of an Italian gaming license?
Read this article on the topic “What are the benefits of an Italian Gaming License“.
Q. – Do I need that my company is established in Italy or that the servers are located in Italy to apply for an Italian gaming license?
No, under the draft decree introducing the new licensing regime the operator and its servers can be located in any country of the European Economic Area or in any other country that has entered into a bilateral agreement with the Italian Gaming Authority.
Q. – What is the turnover of the Italian gaming market?
On this page of the website of the Italian Gaming Authority you can have access to the monthly turnover (online and offline) of the Italian gaming market. Please note that the turnover concerning bingo has to be meant referred only to offline bingo since online bingo waw launched in January 2010.
Q. – But I have heard that offline gaming terminals are very relevant in Italy for the online business, is it true?
This might be true under the old gaming license regime, but the new regime will prohibit such gaming terminals. Read this article on the topic “The Death of Gaming Totems. An Advantage for New Entrants?“.
Q. – Ok, can apply for a license NOW?
No, as you can see from this article “New Gaming License Regime Under the Review of the EU“, the draft decree prescribiling the issue of the new gaming licenses is currently under the review of the European Commission. After the expiry of the so called “stand still” period, the Italian Gaming Authority will publish the decree and operators will be able to apply for new licenses.
Q. – So for the time being is there any possibility to enter into the Italian gaming market for a new operator?
Currently the only two open options are either the acquisition of a license (or of the entire company holding the license) from another operator or the management of the website under the license of another operator.
Q. – But I am not interested in this kind of deals, shall I just wait then?
No, this might be the right time to seek the acceptance of the Italian Gaming Authority of for instance new mechanics of games and to obtain their approval of the gaming platform to be ready to launch the website when the decree setting out the new licensing regime will be published. Indeed, technical issues might lead to relevant delays in the launch of the gaming platform.
Q. – Let’s speak about technical issues, I have heard that operators have to comply with stringent technical requirements.
This is true, but the problem can be overcome through agreements with other operators that allow licensees to use their platform which is already approved by the Italian Gaming Authority and therefore does not need to be tested and approved again by the Italian Gaming Authority.
Q. – Final question: Taxes
The gaming duty varies depending on the type of game involved. For instance in case of bingo it is 11% of the turnover, in case of cash games and casino games it will be 20% of the revenues, while in case of skill games (including online poker tournament) it is 3% of the turnover.
If you are intersted in entering into the Italian gaming market and you have additional questions, feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.