The Presidents and Councillors of Italy’s 20 autonomous regions and 100 municipalities have been advised to support the government’s plans to reorganise gambling.
The plea was cited by the Conferenza Unificata (CU), the body charged with fostering cooperation between the Italian state and the governments of autonomous regions and municipalities.
The CU has reviewed the government’s reorganisation decrees for land-based and online gambling, in which it determined there are “no financial impacts on the budgets of autonomous regions and provinces”.
The body supports the Meloni government’s mandate to modernise gambling laws, carrying out Italian gambling’s first regulatory evaluation since 2011 – the year Italy launched its online gambling marketplace.
As such, regional and municipal councillors have been urged to consider the government’s decrees as “essential to be involved with”, by providing feedback on local measures and resources to counter pathological gambling – the key objective of the decree.
Italy’s autonomous regions have been ordered to form a “working group aimed at sharing the contents of the legislative decree related to the reform rules governing land-based gambling venues”.
Reforms desired by the government seek to impose a gradual reduction in land-based gambling venues (betting shops, bingos, and arcades) to be designated in concentrated environments to promote safer gambling.
As prioritised by the Ministry of the Economy and Finance (MEF), the laws of land-based gambling venues must be modernised to terminate criminal activities such as venues being used for tax evasion purposes.
The CU detailed its support for the desired principles of the reorganisation of land-based gambling, in which it has emphasised that regional governments should have at least basic information about the locations of these shops as part of the gambling retail network.
Yet, aware of shortcomings in the surveillance of retail gambling venues, CU members have proposed that the government allocate a 5% share of revenue generated from slot machines to “regions with the Ordinary Statute“.
Though seeking to accommodate changes, regional councillors responded that they require approximately €300m of additional yearly budget to monitor venues, implement safer gambling practices, and strengthen problem gambling interventions.
The CU has been advised to endorse the 5% slot machine revenue-share proposal to increase funds for regional governments to implement effective safer gambling measures.
Further measures put forward during the Decree’s preliminary hearings called for the government to impose a levy on land-based gambling sales similar to those on alcohol and tobacco.
Although approved, the government’s decree is yet to be audited by Parliament’s Finance Committee, which is scheduled to provide its opinion on the budget of the decree on 22 February.
The Government may either choose to amend the Decree with new measures or publish it in the Official Gazette. Italian trade associations representing gambling operators and retail stakeholders will be heard in Parliament on 7 February to clarify their positions on the contents of the decree.