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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Italy to Award Online Gambling Licenses by Year’s End

Casino News Daily
Italy to Award Online Gambling Licenses by Year’s End

Verification of online gambling license applications enters final stages, licenses to be issued by the end of the year

Italy’s process of issuing online gambling licenses to companies interested to operate in the local market is entering its final stages, Italian news outlet Agimeg reported on Monday citing unnamed institutional sources.

It is believed that the process of checking and verifying the documentation submitted as part of the license application process that took place early this year is about to be completed and that the licenses will be issued before the Christmas holidays. The licenses that are to be assigned to approved applicants will be valid through December 31, 2022.

News from Italy arrive just as the country is gearing up for a recently approved ban on all forms of gambling advertising. The ban, promoted by Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, will come into force January 1, 2019.

Italy’s gambling regulator Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM) launched the application process for online gaming and betting licenses in January after months of delays. Said process was originally expected to be launched last September.

Operators interested to enter the Italian online gambling market and ones interested to have their existing licenses extended had up to March 20 to submit the necessary documentation and participate in the bidding process.

The ADM had initially planned to issue up to 120 licenses. As part of the application process, each applicant was required to pay a one-off fee of €200,000. The amount of €24 million was thus expected to enter Italy’s coffers only from the application process.

However, the above prognosis turned out a bit too optimistic as the ADM eventually received 80 applications from 70 companies.

Italy’s Gambling Landscape Ahead of the Blanket Ban on Ads

As mentioned earlier, Italy’s regulated gambling landscape is about to change drastically with the pending implementation of a total ban on all forms of advertising, including advertising activities conducted via broadcast media, the Internet, and football club sponsorships.

The blanket ban will come into force on January 1, 2019, despite protests from the industry and other concerned parties. While there have been very few comments on whether operators would consider leaving the Italian market once the new rules take effect, this might be a likely scenario, depending on how hard the advertising prohibitions hit revenue numbers.

Italy’s gambling market was worth €96.1 billion in 2016 in terms of turnover and €19.4 billion in pre-tax revenue generated that year (2017 figures are yet to be published by the ADM). According to licensed operators, their right to advertise their services to local players is the only thing that gives them advantage over their black market rivals. Losing that advantage would thus only help the blank market grow, licensees believe.

Although the Italian government has agreed to engage in a debate over the implementation of the ads ban, it seems that it is firm on its stance to ban advertising, despite protests from the industry and their arguments over the risks the move poses to the local market.

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The post Italy to Award Online Gambling Licenses by Year’s End appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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