Italy has always been wary of the betting practice getting out of hand. Given the country's history in regaining a derailed system, this is understandable. However, some of the country’s cautious measures have at times seen it at loggerheads with the outside world.
In 2006, members of the European Union (EU) raised a flag complaining that Italy was locking out from its borders licensed betting operators from the bloc. This, they said, violated the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) provisions. An inquest was made into the allegations.
Italy's defense that the action was taken in line with its criminal laws was found unconvincing. The country was found guilty of failing to report more than 600 websites that it had blacklisted. They were ordered to lift such restrictions.
Since then, the country has moved several acts to help betting providers operate legally in the country.
Finance Act, 2007
It moved to legalize card games that require skill to win. To keep them under control, the act provided that such games would be played as tournaments. All stakes placed during the game were set at the same amount as the fee charged to enter the tournament.
Texas Hold 'Em became legal as a result. Card games like Punto banco remained banned as they were considered to be dependent on luck rather than skill and strategy.
Comunitaria Decree, 2011
This law opened the door for poker and other casinos to be played for real money. The provision changed from taxing total revenue to subjecting profits only to tax. Poker and casino games were taxed 20%. Horse betting, lotteries, and other skill games were taxed 3% of the tickets and buy-ins that they sold to punters.
The fairer taxation regime brought in more providers. This made the market more competitive as players had more options. The result was an increased number of players and overall greater revenue earned by the government. Gamblers also benefited as the law required that the limit for a poker buy-in was $250, down from the initial $1100. This helped players to avoid overspending.
2020 Budget Law
This law was mainly focused on online gambling. It eyed betting, sports betting, lottery, casino games. Providers of all these betting services are required to obtain a local license in Italy even when they have the same from other EU countries.
There are definite windows provided in law when interested providers can submit their license applications. During the window, there are 40 licenses that providers can apply for. The lowest price for an online betting license is €2.5m ($283m).
Foreign providers from within the European Economic Area can apply for the license which goes for nine years and is not eligible for renewal. The law also upheld the ban on gambling sponsorship and advertising. Esport regulation is categorized under sports betting in the Budget law.