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An overhaul of Italian online gambling regulations was approved by the Italian Board of Ministry, marking a significant change from previous norms. Italy is the second-largest gambling market in Europe and remains very attractive to operators and suppliers even despite the stricter changes. Dario Betti reports on the changes to this market.

The Italian government released the decree in March 2014, with a view of increasing oversight and reducing the market to fewer, stronger players in order to maximise taxes to its coffers. The Italian legalisation system of the decree would still have scope for some limited changes in the next months with parliament approval. Even if the cost of licenses might increase, that is likely to be offset by the substantial revenues that could be generated. The Italian market is still growing.

The regulatory framework aims to ensure fair play, consumer protection, and prevent issues like money laundering and underage gambling.  Here are the key changes summarized for mobile service users:

With increasing concerns about data privacy and the rise of data-driven services, regulations pertaining to the collection, storage and use of personal information will be under scrutiny.  The balance between innovation and safeguarding consumer data rights will be a topic of intense debate.”

  1. New Licenses: At the end of 2024, all the remote gambling licenses in the Italian market will expire. A tender will be held for fifty new online gaming licenses to be awarded by December 31, 2024. These licences will have a nine year validity and cover all the games that are not subject to exclusive licenses, such as online scratch cards.
  2. Costs and Fees: Each nine-year license will cost EUR 7 million, with operators also paying an annual license fee of 3% of their Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) net of gambling taxes. Additionally, operators must invest 0.2% of their GGR net of taxes in responsible gaming advertising campaigns.
  3. Operator Limits: Groups can hold a maximum of five licenses, with strict suitability criteria and increased penalties for non-compliance.
  4. Website Restrictions: Operators can only have one website with an Italian top-level domain name and logo displayed. Additional skins or white label sites are not allowed. This is a significant change to the existing market.
  5. Shop Regulations: Shops selling top-up cards for online gaming accounts must be registered and pay an annual fee. They need to be enrolled in a registry run by the Italian gambling authority; and have to pay an annual fee of EUR 100.
  6. Combatting Unlicensed Sites: Strong measures are in place against offering games in Italy through unlicensed gambling websites, including payment blocking measures.

There are different licenses relevant to online gambling in the Italian market:

  • Games of chance with fixed-odds such as slots, roulette, casino games
  • Skill games, games of chance with fixed-odds and card games in non-tournament mode with remote participation
  • Card games in non-tournament mode with remote participation such as single player poker against the house
  • Fixed odds betting (sports and horserace betting), pool betting, virtual and live betting

Remote gaming operators need to apply for each specific license separately. The applying company needs to be registered and incorporated in a European Union member state or within the European Economic Area. The company must also demonstrate financial stability. This is to ensure that the operator can cover winnings and other costs. Online platforms and software must be compliant with technical standards to ensure fairness, security, and player protection and have their solutions tested by a specific lab.

Data from Statista, describe revenues for the Italian Online Casinos market (excluding betting) is projected to reach €1.56bn in 2024. According to Statista, revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2024-2028) of 6.41%, resulting in a projected market volume of €2.00bn by 2028. In Italy the Online Casinos market will see 1.5m users by 2028, an increase in user penetration from 2.4% in 2024 to 2.6% by 2028. The average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to amount to €1.07k, up from €540 in 2017. The Italian market is dominated by slots games, well over poker or bingo games. In global comparison, most revenue will be generated in the United States (€6,989.00m in 2024). With a projected rate of 35.7%, the user penetration in the Online Casinos market is highest in Canada.

Dario Betti

CEO, Mobile Ecosystem Forum


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