Online gambling operators and punters seem to have escaped the brunt of the Italian government’s new tax hike on the gambling industry, for now at least.
Earlier this week, the Five Star-PD coalition, which emerged from the political chaos of the summer, finalised its Budget Plan and referred it to the European Commission for approval. The plan had undergone significant changes right up to the last minute, but it has been reported that it includes plans to raise €650 million in new tax revenue from the gambling sector.
Much of that money is set to come from a rise in taxes on revenue that accrues from amusement games (AWP) and lottery terminals (VLT). The tax rate on AWP products is set to rise from 21.6% to 23% while VLT operators will be hit with a rise from 7.9% to 9%.
According to government figures, this will enable the government to raise around €500 million, but operators who work in the physical gambling sector in Italy have been quick to point out that the lower tax rates, which are now due to be increased, had not yet come into effect, having been first announced in the summer of 2018 by a previous government and schedule for January 1, 2020.
The good news for online punters is that it appears a planned tax on gamblers’ winnings did not make the final draft of the Budget Plan, although it remains to be seen whether operators hit by the physical gaming tax rise will pass some of the cost onto punters. And it seems clear that the government has targeted the gambling industry as a whole as it seeks to stabilise the Italian economy, making industry conditions for gambling operators in Italy as tough as it has been at any time since the gambling market was liberalised in 2010.