Italy to Launch Call for Online Gambling License Applications Next Week

It was two years ago when it first became known that the Italian online gambling market would be expanded significantly. Back in 2015, the Southern European country’s government agreed to award 120 online gaming licenses to interested operators, but a tender for those same licenses has not been opened since then.

According to recent reports from Italian news outlets, the wait may be finally over and that the call for license applications could be launched in the week between September 18-25. Although details on the way the tender process will take place are still limited, there have been certain pieces of important information released in media.

Details about the Upcoming Opening of the Tender Process

As mentioned above, there will be a total of 120 licenses up for grabs. However, 40 of those will likely be issued to existing stakeholders in the Italian iGaming space. Interested operators will have two months to prepare and submit their application. The license fee is €200,000 and the licenses issued to approved applicants will be valid through December 31, 2022.

It has also become known that licenses will be awarded to interested online sports betting, casino, poker, and bingo operators. Thus, the country’s online gambling market will see major and diverse expansion. Here it is also important to note that all approved candidates for entry into the market will also have to be granted a separate technical approval by the responsible regulators in order to be able to provide their services to local players.

There will be no changes in the way online gambling activities are conducted in the Italian iGaming market, it has been confirmed.

The State of Italy’s Online Gamling Market

News emerged earlier this year that Italy has positioned itself as Europe’s second largest regulated online gambling jurisdiction. Licensed online gaming and betting operators generated overall revenue of over €1 billion last year, up more than 25% from 2015. The casino sector contributed the biggest piece of the revenue pie with €439 million for the reported 12 months. Revenue from sports betting totaled €350 million last year, reflecting an increase of 31% from the previous year. Online poker generated a total of €133 million. However, revenue from that particular activity dropped 10% from 2015.

The future of Italy’s online poker market has been one of the main topics of discussions over the past year. Italy is one of four countries that signed a shared online poker liquidity agreement in July with the aim to revitalize their online poker sectors by merging their player pools; France, Spain, and Portugal being the other three.

The poker markets of all four jurisdictions are ring-fenced, which means that players are generally presented with limited opportunities for diverse offering. The shared liquidity project is intended to change this and to hopefully give a much-needed boost to cash game poker in the four countries.

The participating jurisdictions are each expected to present a technical rules framework, under which the shared liquidity network will be created. France, Spain, and Portugal have either completed that step or are very close to completing it.

It has been reported that Italy may be trailing a little behind, due to the fact that regulators are busy with preparations for the call for tenders, but it is believed that the shared liquidity project could be materialized by the end of the year or by the first half of 2018.

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