The European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA) reveals that the illegal online gambling market in Italy generates annual revenue of around €1 billion. The Association indicates that the figure is equal to the value of the gambling revenue generated by as many as eight other EU countries. According to the EGBA, black market’s apparent growth requires regulatory revisions which have now been announced by the Italian Ministry of the Economy and Finance.

75% Black Market Share:

The EGBA uses a recent report by La Gazzetta dello Sport to indicate that Italy’s gambling market handles around €25 billion of bets per year with unlicensed gambling share of  €18.5 billion, or 75% of the total amount wagered in the country. Based on these figures, the Association reportedly estimates that the Italian gambling market loses almost €1 billion in online gross gaming revenue to black market websites each year. The EGBA reports that the lost revenues are equal to the combined regulated market revenues generated in eight other EU countries.

Consumer Protection Concerns

The Association is also concerned about the fact that many Italian players bet on non-EU websites lacking basic consumer protection. As reported, Italy’s Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM) has already blocked more than 9800 illegal gambling websites this year to testify about the increasing number of such cases each year. The EGBA’s concerns about consumer protection have reportedly been addressed to the Italian authorities to raise awareness among Italian gamblers to gamble on regulated websites with established responsible gaming practices and avoid risks pending from unlicensed operators often based outside the EU.

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General, EGBA, reportedly stated: The significant size of Italy’s online black market is concerning, yet it is not surprising given that Italy has one of Europe’s strictest advertising regimes for its licensed gambling companies. The country’s ban on advertising for licensed gambling operators is clearly favoring the black market. Without a sufficient level of advertising, there is no real way for Italians to tell the difference between a gambling website which is licensed in Italy – and applies the country’s consumer protection rules – and one that is not. It is evident that enforcement action against black market operators is not sufficient, and that the government needs to revise its advertising rules for gambling to ensure Italian citizens can be well-informed about the licensed websites in the country.”  

In line with the EGBA report, the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) announced a preliminary decree of amendments and resolutions to request the government’s review and revision of the online gambling laws currently applicable in the country. According to a source, the MEF decree proposes changes related to online gambling licensing fees and regulatory supervision, as well as the new measures to combat illegal gambling and ensure responsible gambling practices.

 €7 million Concession Price Proposal:

The MEF has reportedly proposed a new model to set the price of online gambling concessions at €7 million explaining that this 20 times higher amount than the previously applied concession of around €300,000 paid by most Italian regulated operators will be introduced as the previous concession was severely under-priced. The source further reports that the concessions will make five licenses available for each operator, such as Flutter Entertainment, Lottomatica, or Entain.

As reported, the MEF decree does not include any tax amendments for online gambling operators as these changes may be discussed after the government has completed the reorganization regarding retail gambling laws. The full text of the preliminary decree will reportedly be served to Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in the forthcoming weeks to be prospectively included in the 2024 Budget Law.