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Italy Set To Enter New Era Of Online, Lottery Licensing

April 5, 2024
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A new decree in Italy that will see online licence fees skyrocket ahead of an expected concession window at the end of this year, and which prepares the ground for the country’s €7bn lottery tender, has been approved.

A new decree in Italy that will see online licence fees skyrocket ahead of an expected concession window at the end of this year, and which prepares the ground for the country’s €7bn lottery tender, has been approved.

The decree relating to the so-called “reorganisation” of online gambling, and a major Lotto European tender, has been published in the Italian Official Gazette. 

The online concessions, to be awarded before 31 December 2024, will have a duration of nine years at a one-off cost of €7m each, with current licences set to expire by the end of this year. 

Licensees will have to pay an annual licence fee equal to 3 percent of gross gambling revenue (GGR), net of gambling taxes, and groups cannot hold more than five licences. 

Operators will be allowed to manage only one "App" for accessing each type of gambling product and one website for the licence, without any “skin” affiliates. 

According to estimates from the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), at least 50 operators will apply for the concession, with expected revenue for the state projected at €350m, while the licence fee will bring in new annual revenues of €100m. 

Of this total, €3m per year will come from the fee for the registration of an estimated 30,000 online top-up agents offering payment services, as each of them will pay €100 per year.

Licensees will have to implement responsible gaming measures including loss and time limits, as well as introducing some automatic messages to warn the consumer of the gambling session's duration and spending level when a preset limit is exceeded. 

The decree says that to ensure the certainty of player identification, the opening of a gaming account takes place "exclusively using a valid identity document or other digital identification tool, also with second-level security, recognised in Italy". In this case, reference is made to Italy's national digital identity tool, SPID.

Also, operators shall invest an amount equal to 0.2 percent of their GGR net of gambling taxes in responsible gaming campaigns. 

Some sources predict that the tender notice for the online concessions could be issued at the end of this year. The Agency of Customs and Monopolies is planning to imminently send the technical specifications of the tender to the European Commission for the required “standstill” period.

At the same time, the documentation related to the tender could be sent to the Council of the State for it to give its necessary approval before the window can be opened.  

The introduction of international liquidity for poker, pushed by some lobbies in Rome, was not included in the decree. 

Stronger rules have been introduced against the offering of games in Italy through unlicensed gambling websites, as well as through the implementation of payment blocking measures.


Lotto Tender

The €1bn Lotto European tender will guarantee the licensee net revenues of approximately €200 million for nine years, according to a report released by the Treasury alongside the decree.

The lottery is currently managed by IGT, with the expiry date of the licence set as November 2025. 

Since the licensee's annual 6 percent commission has been confirmed by the law, and with a yearly turnover estimated at approximately €7.7bn for the nine years following 2025, the gross remuneration due to the licensee would amount to approximately €460m per year. 

The starting bid for the Lotto tender is set at €1bn euros: €500m to be paid when the tender is awarded, €300m in 2025, and the remaining sum of at least €200m to be paid by April 30, 2026. 

The tender notice will shortly be sent by regulator ADM to the Council of the State for the green light, ahead of it being publicly issued.


         

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