Italy Awards Online Gambling Concessions… Finally

Italy has finally granted the concessions for the provision of online gambling services in the county after a lengthy process marred by multiple delays

The Italian gambling authority, Agenzia delle dogane e dei monopoli (ADM), released yesterday the list of the approved candidates that will be allowed to operate in the local market. Their licenses will be valid through December 31, 2022.

The list includes local gambling operator Lottomatica as well as the local subsidiaries of major international companies such as bet365, The Stars Group, and GVC Holdings, among others.

ADM has awarded as many as 66 concessions. It has also issued licenses to four other companies but will treat them with reserves for reasons it said it would communicate to the licensees themselves. Those four companies are Scommetendo SRL, Spati SRL, Sogno Di Tolosa, and Universal Solutions SRL, known to be the owner of the Betium online gambling brand.

Rabbit Entertainment Ltd (owner of Lapalingo and Lord Lucky Casino), Lottomatrix Operations Limited, Piper Limited, and Betclic Limited were among the aaplicants that were not awarded a concession or had withdrawn their application to participate in Italy’s online gambling market.

Was Italy’s License Application Process a Disappointment?

Italy was expected to launch the license application process back in the fall of 2017. However, due to multiple delays, ADM eventually began accepting applications from interested operators in January 2018.

The regulator said back then that it would cap the number of concessions available to 120, expecting massive interest from local and international companies. However, it received only 80 applications from around 70 operators by the end of the application process. The concessions were to be granted by the end of 2018, but Italian gambling regulators missed that deadline, as well.

A license for the provision of online gambling services in Italy comes with a €200,000 price tag, which means that the country could have collected €24 million from its concessionaires, if its projections for massive interest in its licenses process proved true. It will now collect significantly less, with the total license fee bill coming at €13.2 million.

Meanwhile, the blanket ban on gambling advertising in Italy has apparently begun taking its toll on the country’s regulated market. According to local gaming news outlet Agipro, three unlicensed online gaming operations currently top Google’s search charts for the term “online casino” in Italy. One of the unauthorized operations is based in German, the other in Israel, and the third is licensed in Curacao.

Opponents of the recently implemented ban on all forms of gambling advertising have predicted that the move would only benefit the black market and it seems that really might be the case.

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