Agipro’s Italian View – New government faces same old industry dilemmas  

Whatever form the next Italian government takes following this March’s ground-breaking general election results, Italy’s new political taskmasters’ will have to revamp the country’s existing gambling framework.

A coalition government, led by the legislative novices of the 5-Star Movement has a daunting task in creating a more cohesive industry framework, in-line with business provisions set out by Italy’s new ‘Stability Law of 2017’.

In 2018, Italian betting stakeholders point to three critical industry concerns which must be addressed by the new government.

First up, the government will have to adjudicate new proposals to add a further 10,000 new betting points within Italy’s autonomous regions.

Set to be delivered this September, the betting industry has met resistance from multiple state regulators, who have implemented laws restricting the operating of betting points near ‘sensitive places’ such as churches, schools and hospitals.

Further concerns are raised about whether a new government will move to approve new betting industry provisions, currently being revised by Italy’s Ministry of the Economy.

Betting stakeholders seek a strengthening of the national betting code in relation to Asian Handicap offers, operator Cash-Out functionalities and setting fixed policy and clear practices on ‘market disputes’ relating to bookmakers and their customers.

From a long-term industry standpoint, the new government will be tested on whether it can finally align Italy’s complex governing framework between the state and autonomous regions, which has affected previous governments presiding the betting sector.

Revamping Italy’s gambling agenda, set in a previous agreement the industry had settled on reducing its overall slot machines portfolio by 35% from 400,000 to about 265,000, with licensed operators significantly reducing machine inventory in bars and tobacconists.

Nevertheless, set against the constant battle of federal laws versus regional rights, Italy’s new political actors face numerous obstacles in delivering business/commercial alignment… Italian gambling stakeholders will have to wait and see whether 2018 will truly be a year of change!