Favourable Budget Law gives Italian horse racing new hope

After decades of decline, Italian horse racing has been thrown a lifeline in the form of the country’s latest Budget Law. Most notably, the turnover-based tax regime that has been so detrimental has been replaced by a new gross gaming revenue (GGR) tax.

The GGR tax regime for horse racing is based on that already implemented in the sports betting sector. However, horse racing taxes – set at 43% for retail bets and 47% for online – remain significantly higher than the 18% and 22% that land-based and online sports betting has to deal with.  

The situation has been further improved by the loosening of strict laws, with this liberalisation expected to lead to industry growth. Previously, betting on horses was restricted to official betting lists published by Italian gaming authority ADM, but the Budget Law has relaxed this. After sports betting laws were similarly relaxed, the Italian gaming market witnessed sizeable growth, and it is hoped it will have the same effect on horse racing.

Additionally, the Budget Law postponed the country’s proposed new betting licenses, so to allow local municipalities time to change their laws accordingly. The existing betting shop and corner licenses have been extended for the full year, against the payment of an annual extension fee of €6000 per betting shop and €3500 per betting corner. A new tender for betting shops and corner licenses also aims to take in €410 million by the end of September.

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