SBC News Italy must clear Regional Sensitivities on Decrees' retail orders

Italy must clear Regional Sensitivities on Decrees’ retail orders

Italy’s Ministry of the Economy and Finance (MEF) has begun discussions with regional executives on how the changes from the decrees to ‘Reorganise Gambling’ will be applied.

Negotiations have begun in which the Ministry has been instructed to secure alignment for new federal laws on gambling to be implemented across Italy’s 20 autonomous regions and 100 municipalities.

Changes primarily impacting regional governments concern new rules that will be applied to the governance of retail betting shops, bingo halls, arcades, and gaming machines.

Central issues in the ongoing discussions are the establishment of minimum distance requirements between gambling outlets and sensitive locations as specified by regional laws, and changes ordered on the opening hours of gambling venues.

As reported by AgiproNews: “The discussion has immediately stalled, particularly on distances and opening times, as well as on the distribution of gaming outlets and slot machines across municipalities: as the regions have shown some doubts about the reform.”

Noting concerns, regional executives submitted a proposal on how decree changes could be applied, which did not meet the MEF’s approval. As such, the Treasury responded that it would publish its recommendations on 2 April.

Italy’s autonomous regions advocate for a standardised minimum distance, with current regulations varying between 250 to 500 meters from gambling venues to sensitive locations such as schools, hospitals, and other public sites.

Further conflicts appear on ‘specific time restrictions’ for gambling venues, suggesting “closures during hours preceding major sporting events and lottery draws,” potentially leading to substantial financial losses for operators and the state.

Italy’s government has underscored the importance of an effective application of decree changes on retail gambling across autonomous regions.

Of significance, the government has noted concerns about disrupting the Italian gambling retail network, which contributes approximately between €10–€11bn in annual tax revenues.

At present, the only point of consensus sees regional authorities supporting the maintenance and strengthening of the current ban on gambling advertising.

However, regional executives have called for the government to guarantee €300m in yearly funding to monitor venues, implement safer gambling practices, and strengthen problem gambling interventions.

The MEF is optimistic that it can reach an agreement with regional counterparts to establish a framework to implement decree changes, focusing on improving the quality standards of gambling shops rather than implementing strict distance regulations to sensitive points.

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