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Online Casino News - June, 2009

Euro Online Casinos to Find Regulatory Haven in Italy


  Seed Newsvine

by Edward Rogers, News Staff Writer

June 23, 2009

Italy is on the fast track to liberalizing online gambling and licensing Euro Casinos with the introduction of new laws governing all manner of internet betting operations, including online casinos, poker rooms, sportsbooks and bingo rooms. As of today, the Italian Parliament has decided to back legislation that will legalize and regulate online gambling throughout the nation, while implementing preventive measures to discourage illegal online gambling activities.

Although the decision to regulate was widely favored, it didn't go by without some intense scrutiny and debate. The chief concern of those voicing caution, whether playing Devil's advocate or not, was in regards to illegal gambling activities, which have apparently spiked in the land-based gambling sector. Demanding that strict laws must be mandated in order to combat and dissuade illegal online gambling activities, legislators have introduced provisions for imposing fines and imprisonment.

Gaming and financial operators that accept bets on behalf of unlicensed operators could receive between six month and three years in prison, while licensed online casinos could face three months to a year plus up to 5,000 in fines for illegally collecting online wagers.

On the other hand, legislators have sought to provide guidelines that are appealing for top-tier online betting operators to open shop in Italy. These included a nine-year concession for online bingo costing 50,000 plus the value added tax, and sports betting/skill gaming servicing options costing 300,000 plus value added tax. A reduced tax rate based on margin, rather than turnover, has been introduced. Compared to other regulatory jurisdictions, these numbers are reasonable and should certainly attract operators looking to tap into the lucrative Italian online gambling market.

Revenues generated by taxes and licensing fees are expected to exceed 500 million annually. The majority of these funds will be earmarked to help reconstruction efforts in the earthquake ravaged Abruzzo area - a great example of the good that can come from the regulation of a multi-billion euro industry.



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