Given that in mid-March, the party of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni officially approved a mandate that would rearrange the gambling sector, which, if officially approved by the parliament, where it has been proposed from April 20, would further lead to a radical reconstruction of the land-based gambling sector with the goal of standardizing the sector’s laws and regulations.

Currently, the draft law is rapidly passing through constitutional ranks of Italy.

In addition, the opinion of 12 parliamentary committees is needed before final approval.

The main objective of the mandate:

The main goal of the mandate, and thus of its sponsors, is to rearrange the gambling sector by implementing constitutionally binding laws and uniform standards that must be implemented in all Italian provinces.

In addition, the government’s plan is also “to progressively concentrate land-based gaming venues (casinos, betting shops, arcades and bingo halls) in safe and controlled venues away from academic, youth and welfare institutions.”

Safer gambling as a priority:

Safer gambling is high on the reform agenda “as businesses must ensure the full protection of problem gamblers.” These measures involve:

  • reducing stakes and winnings limits;
  • offering mandatory continuous training for concessionaires, dealers, and operators;
  • strengthening self-exclusion mechanisms;
  • providing minimum characteristics that halls and other gambling venues must possess.

Furthermore, all licensed operators have been warned that the government will also modify gaming taxes, concessionaire commissions, dealer and operator fees and payout percentages.

The third attempt to reform the gambling sector:

Italian onlookers have noticed that this would be the government’s third attempt to reform the gambling sector in the last eight years.

As for the first two attempts, they failed due to political problems or public opinion opposition.

The gambling sector as one of the important factors contributing to the Italian economy:

Despite the effect of the long closure of gaming premises in 2020 and 2021, the Italian market continues to grow and is still considered one of the largest in the Europe.

In 2022 alone, GGR increased by 31% to 19.6bn euros, while tax revenues amounted to 11.2bn euros, an increase of 28%. The market’s success is largely due to a regulatory framework that is considered best practice internationally.

However, the gambling sector is an important contributor to the Italian economy, where the government is tasked with ensuring that it is effectively regulated.

As such, the Meloni Government wants to use a model based on state concession and police authorization, as it is now, and the Treasury and the provinces will look to eliminate the chaos that exists in the territory with retail establishments.

Additionally, the mandate requires the opinion of 12 parliamentary committees as mentioned above, involving Finance, Constitutional Affairs, Productive Activities, and Labor, before final approval. After the mandate is approved, the Government will have to draft the following regulations.

The reforms were led by Deputy Minister Maurizio Leo, who expressed optimism that the legislative decrees will be validated as early as next year.

At a press conference in Rome, Leo was questioned “on the complex arrangements gambling operators have with regional governments.”

He replied that “talks will take place through the state-regions body Conferenza Unificata which aims to harmonize the gaming rules on minimum distance and opening times throughout the country.”

The retail sector will continue to play a central role:

Although online gaming has grown, the retail sector will continue to play a central role, as post-pandemic business results show.

“The market still has room for growth linked to the development of the online channel, but retail will continue to play a central role,” according to a report issued by Bain&Company titled “Italian Gaming market: solid foundation and compelling value creation opportunities.”

In this regard, the consulting firm noticed that “the market has an incidence of only 30% compared to mature markets such as the United Kingdom and the Nordics, which have a penetration of 70-80%.”

Italy’s gambling sector is set to undergo further transformation, as Lottomatica SPA submitted its listing plans to the Milan EuroNext Borsa this week, triggering a €700m book-build to achieve an IPO value of + €2.7bn.

In preparation for the IPO, Lottomatica consolidated its land-based betting agencies of Better, Intralot and GoldBet under its flagship brand which accounts for 33% of the retail market share, contending with SNAI (Playtech), Sisal (Flutter Entertainment) and EuroBet (Entain Plc).