Italy’s Betting Industry Awaits Fate Of Final Terms Of Revival Decree

Italy’s 6,000 betting shops reopened on Monday (15 June), only to find themselves facing an additional 0.5 percent wagering tax applied across all betting-related verticals (retail, digital and virtual sports).

The temporary GGR tax is based on betting turnover and is paired with current net betting duties of 20 percent for stores, 22 percent for virtual games and 24 percent online.

The GGR levy, introduced by the end of 2021, forms part of the government’s ‘Revival Decree’ agenda under which MPs aim to collect €90 million for the newly created ‘Fund for the Revitalisation of Sports’.

The publication of the official decree gazette of the government detailed further information on the sports fund to be overseen by the Italian Economic Ministry to raise € 40 million by the end of 2020 and an additional € 50 million by 2021.

Given its good intentions, the sports fund must depend on the recovery of Italian betting incumbents ravaged by the coronavirus consequences.

Strict lockout orders saw all bookmakers close from March 9, with sports betting further affected by the three-month postponement of all major sporting events.

Industry sources say the sports betting turnover for retail bookmakers during the lockout period is estimated to have fallen to a combined €9 million.

Italy’s embattled bookmakers will now be forced to operate with a 15 percent net tax increase in 2020, raising aggregate betting duties from €270 million to €310 million.

Nevertheless, suddenly some MPs have confirmed they are ready to file amendments to change decree laws relieving tax burdens on incumbent betting.

Although enforced, the terms of the Revival Decree have yet to be ratified into federal law by the Chamber and the Senate. Italian MPs have around 60 days to persuade counterparts to change turnover taxes into net duties.

Fighting for sports betting, supportive MPs will point to the grim results reported in industry.

According to Agipronews data, the suspension of all major sporting events caused the online sports betting to drop to € 20 million in revenues.

Combined retail and digital betting results for the period from March to April saw overall industry revenues drop by 72 percent compared to February estimates, the last full month reported for Italian sports betting.

Observing developments in the industry, Marcello Minenna, the new ADM Customs and Monopolies Director-General, underlined that it would take ‘at least one year for the industry to recover.’