Italy Online Casino Guide

Gambling Industry Overview in Italy

The following approaches will be presented

  • Gambling legislation in Italy
  • Gambling authorities in Italy
  • Online casinos in Italy
  • and more

Gambling activities in Italy have existed for centuries in a variety of forms. They date back to the days of the Roman Empire as one of the favorite pastime of the locals and spread not only around the country, but around Europe as well.

Flag of ItalyCurrently, Italy, which is one of the founders of the European Union, is the fifth most populous country on the territory of Europe, including the islands and an enclave in Switzerland. The country is consistent of a total of twenty regions, the status of five of which is declared as autonomous with regard to local governmental issues.

Italy has a long history of dealing with gambling matters. The country has experienced its ups and downs in its attitude towards gambling.

Overview

The gambling laws in Italy are considered fairly liberal in comparison to the legislation of the rest of the European countries. To prove that, in 2006, the country introduced its legislation that permitted companies to offer a variety of sports betting services in retail locations and on the Internet. This happened at a time, when a great number of the countries that are members of the European Union were focused on taking measures to restrict gambling on their territories.

Italy has made several changes in its legislation on the matter. The amendments made in 2011 permitted allowed licences for poker and casino games. As a result, several various forms of gambling were offered to the local citizens by a great number of licensed websites.

The current Italian legislation sets a differentiation between games of change and games of skill. In addition, lotteries, sports betting and other activities are regulated and legalized, while gambling in public places or in private clubs is considered illegal. The gambling activities can be permitted in by the state only, and the licences for that are being issued by the Autonomous Administration of State Monopolies.

The amendments made in the country’s legislation concerning gambling were initiated by the requirements made by the European Union. The latter demanded it to become more compliant with both licensing and regulation conditions. All this made Italy issue thousands of gaming licenses to betting stations, land-based casinos and online gambling operators.

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After the more relaxed rules came into effect, Italy has become the largest gambling market on the territory of Europe. Still, there is a large gap between the various forms of gambling offered in the country.

Gambling Legislation History in Italy

Gambling Legislation in ItalyThe government officials have put their efforts to reduce the extent of gambling in the country. Lotteries and sports betting are classified as skill-based games, and are currently permitted in different venues all over Italy. The criminal legislation of the country, however, proclaims games of true gambling, which are not described as games of skill, as illegal.

For a long time, the country was pushed into different situations that varied from prohibition of gambling activities and services to toe legalization of some of them. The main reason for this was the fact that the Italian Government was primarily focused on keeping the country’s citizens away from the negative aspects of the industry.

The true liberalization of the legislation rules related to online gambling started in 2006.

Several new laws were passed by the Italian Government almost a decade ago. In 2006, the country’s authorities set a goal of creating a framework for legal gambling in Italy. The Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies is the authority that is responsible for the administration and control over the framework, as well as for the process of licences issuing. The AAMS is also the regulatory authority for all regions of the country.

In addition, a list of more than 500 websites offering online gambling that were prohibited from providing such services has been issued by the country. Italian laws legalized primarily skill games played for real money and an online betting exchange.

In 2007 the Finance Act of the country was passed in order to further secure online gambling. The Act’s goal was to regulate poker tournaments that took place on the territory of Italy. The statute of video poker games remained intact, and they were left banned as they had been before.

Two years later – in 2009 – the Abruzzo Decree was passed as a legislature of fixed odds games of chance, as well as of additional web-based poker tournaments and ring games. In addition, the country cancelled the requirement for the companies to be based in Italy, and the licensing fees were reduced.

Relevant Legislation

Gambling is proclaimed as illegal when organized in a public place, private club or a place that is open to public. In addition, Italian Criminal law sets a clear difference between the games of skill and games of luck. According to the country’s legislation, lotteries, sports betting and some other activities are put into the category of legal and regulated gambling and gaming activities.

Gambling is allowed by the state only. The responsibility of granting licences to gambling operators is given to the Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies.

The Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies (AAMS) currently oversees the licensing procedure. There is a three-month licence review period, after which, if approved, the company must get an authorization to offer certain games. The operator’s online platform must be certified, too.

As a rule, licences are being issued to any company that is situated in the European Economic Area. According to Italian laws, the servers of online gambling activities providers can be located in any country, which currently is part of a bilateral agreement with the Italian Gamin Authority.

The country has come a long way from totally prohibiting all gambling activities, to making some of them legal under certain condition.

Online Gambling

Internet Gambling in ItalyOnline gambling activities are currently legal. In the past, the Italian Government put its efforts into tight monitoring, control and suppression of online gambling in the country. The Government even went further by trying to clock foreign websites, but eventually failed.

Then, it tried to operate its own online gambling websites, and finally legalized gambling in the country. According to article 38 of the Decree on liberation that was passed on January 1st, 2007, all online gambling activities are officially legalized in the country.

Nowadays, there are more than 200 gambling websites in Italy. About 150 of them are online casino websites, while the rest of them are online bingo websites, online poker websites and mobile casinos.

Thousands of legal permissions were provided to both local and foreign online gambling websites operators by Italy. The European Union also interfered with the country’s online gambling affairs by accusing the Government of its attempts to block foreign websites. This resulted into passing a new law that came into effect in March 2010, which provided foreign online casino operators to offer their services to Local players in case they have obtained a domestic licence first.

According to current Italian legislation, the games and lotteries were initially organized and controlled by a Special State Monopoly Service that was subjected to the Ministry of Finance. Its responsibilities were taken over by the AASM under Law 357/88.

The licences issued by the Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies cover bingo, casino and cash poker games, skill games, fixed odd and totalisator sports, horse and other betting events, cash poker games and horse pools. In order to get an online gambling licence, the operators applying for one are required to provide certain evidence that they meet the requirements of Italian authorities.

As mentioned above, the AASM is entrusted with all gambling matters from issuing gambling licences to online casino operators, to enforcing the administrative legal aspects of these matters within the country. The violation of its regulatory rules are related with serious consequences, which are related to a variety of measures, including a criminal trial, fines, forfeitures, imprisonment, parole, bails and other restrictions.

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