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Deyan Dimitrov December 19, 2023 3 min read
Italy’s Gambling Industry Unites against Drastic License Fee Hike
Gambling sector stakeholders spoke out against the government’s haphazard approach to reforms, urging revisions for several of its most contentious policies
Representatives from leading trade associations in Italy’s gambling industry united in a resounding voice at the “Game: One Market, One Reorganization” conference by the Milton Friedman Institute. The participants highlighted concerns over the government’s proposed exorbitant increase in license fees, urging for correct and uniform regulatory and economic policies.
Attendants Highlighted Worrying Industry Trends
The event drew united representatives from leading associations, with Alessandro Bertoldi, Executive Director of the Milton Friedman Institute, presiding over the conference. Bertoldi emphasized the unjustified drastic spike to €7 million ($7.66 million) from 2018’s €200,000 ($392,000) could have a lopsided impact on market dynamics, legality, and consumer protection.
The regulatory interventions that the Government is preparing will once again create disparities by favoring the illegal market and heavily conditioning the free market.Alessandro Bertoldi, Milton Friedman Institute Executive Director
Emmanuele Cangianelli, President of the Italian Association of Public Games Operators, advocated for an integrated overhaul of gaming distribution channels and products. He urged clear regulations on payment services to bolster online gaming, emphasizing the importance of preserving the uniqueness of concession titles while offering multi-channel consumer choices in legal gaming.
Geronimo Cardia, President of ACADI, Italy’s Association for Slot Machine Vendors, lamented the sector’s decade-long struggle due to fragmented and partial interventions, emphasizing the negative impacts on public interests, legal compliance, and employment levels. He stressed the detrimental effects of prioritizing remote gaming reorganization over retail, reducing revenues, compromising player protections, and stifling SMEs.
Smaller Businesses Will Suffer the Most
These were far from the only concerns, as other representatives underscored the significance of recognizing small and medium-sized gaming enterprises, highlighting the sector’s economic contribution and employment opportunities. They urged inclusive policies benefiting diverse operators, noting that the drastic fee increase would reduce active operators to 20, down from the present 91.
Stakeholders also used this opportunity to reiterate their opinions on Italy’s blanket ban on gambling advertising, arguing that it hurt the competitiveness of licensed operators and was partly responsible for the proliferation of black market players. The industry united in support of small and medium-sized businesses, most susceptible to regulatory uncertainties.
The legal gaming sector expresses its disappointment at the missed opportunity for an organic overall and coordinated reorganization.Moreno Marasco, Logico President
The united front of industry representatives conveyed a clear message urging the government to adopt comprehensive, fair, and cohesive policies that uphold legality, support diverse operators, and prioritize consumer welfare in its approach to the sector’s reorganization. However, the Italian government has not proven receptive to industry input and may push on with its reforms regardless of stakeholder warnings.