Italy approves turnover tax for gambling operators

Italy Gambling Tax Changes

Regulated gambling operators in Italy will be subjected to a new turnover tax, which has been approved by the country’s MPs. 

The emergency tax will apply to both online betting and virtual sports wagers, as well as land-based operators. 

These changes form part of the ‘Revival Decree’, which aims to get both Italian society and the economy up-and-running again following the effects of COVID-19. 

According to the legislation, this turnover tax will be ‘temporary’. 

Rate in place until the end of next year 

When the decree was first drafted, turnover tax for gambling revenue was proposed at 0.75%. However, this has now been lowered to 0.5%. 

The tax will remain in place until at least 31st December 2021. 

It’s aimed that this tax change will help Guiseppe Conte, the country’s Prime Minister, to fund the recovery of sport. The new ‘sports relief fund’ intends to raise €90 million by next year. 

Italy will now become one of Europe’s highest-taxed countries when it comes to gambling. Current rates are already 24% of gross gaming revenue for online operators, 22% for virtual games and 20% for retail. And the new turnover tax will be an addition to these, rather than a replacement. 

Not everybody agrees with these new tax laws 

Many members of Italy’s gambling industry have already been critical of the government’s planned tax introductions. 

Moreno Marasco, who is the Director of LOGiCO – an Italian online gambling trading body – was concerned about the government’s changes. He worried that unregulated operators could be empowered due to this, saying that the government has now “gifted the underworld”. 

Marasco said that the industry was confused about turnover tax being used to revive sports in Italy. Governing bodies in the country had urged leaders to adopt a similar approach to other European countries, in which sports clubs were safeguarded via a ‘guaranteed loan framework’. 

Acadi and Sistema Gioco, two Italian retail betting trading bodies, have warned that the government would be implementing an unworkable tax framework. They believe that, across all verticals, it could lead to a tax burden in excess of 30% of operators’ GGR. 

Italy has already announced plans to reduce its number of gambling operators from 80 to 53 by 2023.