Online gambling is one of the most popular pastimes throughout the world. The rules and regulations regarding online gambling have been quite tricky and confusing in most countries. For years, gambling has been frowned upon even in states where it was considered legal.
There are many countries which have chosen to ban gambling online and in land-based casinos from the start. Others have chosen to take advantage of the rising interest and growth of the online industry and to get their share of the revenue pie. However, it has to be said that no other country has done more than Italy for the development of gambling. In fact, Italian gambling has played a major part in the laws and betting customs created in most of North America and Western Europe. Some even believe the Italians have changed the way people worldwide view gambling.
Unfortunately, the problem is that gambling has been cast in a very negative light by Italian citizens, due to the mafia ties related to land-based gambling establishments. Online gambling, on the other hand, might be another story. In this guide, we aim to understand the gambling laws and regulations regarding online gambling in Italy and how it all started.
Due to mafia ties, gambling in all its various forms has been slow to catch on in the country. That being said, gambling has been present in Italy for centuries, dating all the way back to the time of the Roman Empire. It is believed that the first gambling house, Ridotto, was opened in Venice in 1638. This casino is believed to be the pioneer of modern casinos. Ridotto had been open to the public but was closed down in the late 18th Century through attracting the bad that came with society.
After this, many gambling houses and clubs became exclusive and were only made available for the wealthy. Interestingly enough, these gambling clubs were referred to as casinos, which in itself is of Italian origin. Gambling became completely legal in Italy in 2011, but all gambling operators were required to acquire an Italian gambling licence if they wanted to operate within Italy.
It is a known fact that while online gambling has been legal in Italy for quite some time, there were laws and regulations keeping Italian citizens from accessing foreign online casino sites. Luckily the EU stepped in and the government was forced to amend its online gambling laws in 2009. As of 2010 foreign operators have been allowed to offer their services to Italian citizens if they successfully obtain an Italian gambling licence from the Amministrazione Autonoma del dei Monopoli di Stado Stato(AAMS).
Foreign operators are required to meet a number of requirements when applying for this licence, which in turn makes it quite difficult for foreign operators to enter the Italian online gambling market. One requirement is that the minimum turnover should be at least €1.5m in the rest of Europe during the last two years of its existence. While the Italian government has tried its best to keep online gambling out, the results were not in its favour and the European Union court ruled that they had to open their market to gambling companies from other European Union nations.
Thanks to this ruling the Italian government has changed its stance, and as of late 2017 has been working on providing more online gambling licences to interested operators. According to news reports, the call for bids started earlier in 2018, and the plan was to issue 120 new licences. Interested operators would, however, be expected to pay a once-off fee of €200,000 to validate their application.
Bids were opened on the 19th of April 2018, and the reviewing process will follow shortly after. The review process will be fair yet strict, and all submissions will be reviewed. The winning bidders will be awarded concessions that will be valid all the way through to 31st December 2022.
It’s no secret that Italy’s online gambling market is the second largest in Europe, thanks to the 25% rise in operator revenue over the past few years. With more operators being allowed into the country it can be expected that the market will continue to grow more lucrative in the following years.
When it comes to taxes on gambling winnings, the Italian citizens have always had to pay 6% taxes on all winnings above €500. Unfortunately, this is about to change and leave players a bit disappointed as they are said to expect a 4% increase in taxes, raising the tax amount on wins above €500 to 10%. For lottery winnings, the tax will rise from 6% to 8%. Thus, while players from other countries pay little to no taxes, all wins over the said amount won in Italy have to be declared and are taxed.
It’s amazing to note that gambling has been legal in Italy for quite some time, and while online gambling had a bit of a struggle it was eventually legalized. The legalisation wasn’t great at first as the Italian officials tried extremely hard to keep foreign operators out of the market. Luckily, with the intervention of the EU, Italian citizens get to enjoy more variety of choices in online casinos.
The government is still very strict on illegal or unlicensed operators trying to gain access to its citizens and will take serious steps to prosecute and block any unlicensed ISPs. Thus, it is important to find an online casino that is licensed within the country, to ensure your gameplay won’t get cut short at any point.
There are a number of fantastic online casinos that have been vetted and reviewed, which are fully licensed and regulated within Italy. If you are a new player or just looking for a new online casino to play at then take a look at the list of Top-Rated online casinos available in the EU. Each of these casinos has undergone a rigorous examination to ensure they provide the best service, wide gaming variety, and heaps of amazing bonuses and promotions.
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