The settlement of Italy’s new government under Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has signalled positive changes for Italian gambling and its need to fix long-standing issues.
Six months into Meloni’s premiership, leading the ‘National Conservative’ coalition government, Italy’s gambling sector has been told to prepare for an “industry reorganisation in the coming months”.
Positive developments have seen the government assign Treasury Deputy Italo Volpe to lead the reorganisation of the industry, focused on “bringing stability to the marketplace”.
Of significance, the gambling review will be undertaken as the Meloni government implements its headline ‘2023 Tax Reform Bill’, which will review all federal taxes charged on income, VAT, business and pensions.
Speaking at a conference in Rome, Volpe commented: “A regulatory intervention on the market must be made: it is reasonable to think that in the tax reform bill, there will be also a chapter dedicated to the gambling sector.”
Volpe will be supported by Sandra Savino, a member of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, who recently joined the Treasury as a new undersecretary “delegated to review the gambling sector”.
Further positives bolstering Italian gambling’s reorganisation saw Marcello Minenna end his three-year tenure as President of Italy’s ADM – Customs and Monopolies Agency.
The hard-handed Minenna has been replaced by Roberto Alesse, who took charge of the ADM in February. having previously served as Chief of Staff for Civil Protection Minister Nello Musumeci.
Under Minenna’s charge the ADM had previously drafted a decree to halve Italy’s gambling concessions (online and retail) from 82 to 40 licences.
The decree was shelved in 2021 as ADM botched its licensing review, which saw the domestic franchisees of Snaitech, Lottomatica, Sisal, SKS365 and Eurobet await a delayed judgement on the number of betting shops that would be re-approved licences.
The matter required an intervention by Parliament, which ordered ADM to extend licensing concessions by a further two-year until 2024.
Taking charge of the review, Volpe stated urgency as “the two-year extensions of the gambling licenses approved in the last budget law is a signal that must be grasped”.
“We should try to restart the tender process, through a cyclicality that seems to have been lost along the way,” he continued. “Certainly, the greatest difficulties come from the hostility toward the sector that has been carried on for years.”
By April, Volpe told the Rome audience that he targeted drafting a “new general framework” for marketplace rules on gambling venues, shop distances, opening times and problem gambling.
Yet he also underscored that a deeper six-to-12-month review would be needed to analyse Italian gambling’s “lack of market competition” that has characterised the last few years of its current regime.