In Italy and the federal Chamber of Deputies has reportedly passed legislation that could require all licensed sportsbetting operators to pay an additional 0.5% tax on turnover so as to fund programs to help the nation in recovering from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a Tuesday report from SBC News, the controversial duty is included in the proposed Revival Decree from the government of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and would be applied until the end of next year on any income earned from online, retail and virtual sportsbetting operations.
SBC News reported that the measure, which must still be approved by the Senate of the Republic, is hopeful of being able to raise up to €90 million ($99.5 million) in order to endow a new fund to help sports clubs in Italy recover from a lockdown that has been in place since March 9. The source detailed that legislators had initially called for the rate of this proposed tax to be set at 0.75% but eventually relented under pressure from an industry that is scheduled to fully re-open in just 17 days.
Moreno Marasco, Director for the La Lega Operatori di Gioco (LOGiCO) trade body for local online sportsbetting operators, reportedly nevertheless criticized the imposition of even more tax on an industry that has recorded a 72% decline year-on-year in revenues over the course of the last two months. He purportedly stated that such a post-coronavirus duty would be a ‘gift to the underworld’ and consequently urged legislators to instead consider following other European nations in implementing a ‘guaranteed loan framework’ for sports clubs that may be struggling financially.
SBC News reported that the projected charge would moreover be added to a regime that already requires retail sportsbetting operators to pay a 20% gross gaming revenues tax with their virtual and online counterparts subject to analogous 22% and 24% duties respectively. It explained that the nation’s Sistema Gioco Italia and Associazione Concessionari di Giochi Pubblici (ACadi) trade groups reacted to the news by calling on legislators to scrap the existing tax framework so as to save its members from subsequently having to hand over as much as 30% of their takings.