Italy is one of the most regulated gambling markets in the world. This is very surprising because Italians have a reputation for having a carefree attitude towards life, as the sort of people who like taking chances and are not afraid to gamble. On this page, we take a look at the Gambling Laws in Italy and how online gambling has developed in the country over the years.
History of Gambling in Italy
Italy has a tradition of gambling that goes way back to the days of the Roman Empire. However, even in a country where people have a relaxed attitude when it comes to following rules and regulations, and where corruption in public life is quite common, the gambling industry is strictly regulated.
The Italian law prohibited all forms of gambling until recently. Even online gambling was banned and Italians were not allowed to participate in online casinos or sports betting sites. The government banned all private operators in the gambling market and only state-owned enterprises were allowed.
By monopolizing the online gambling industry the Italian government was able to earn excellent revenue from it, year after year. This was put to an end because of the action taken by the European Commission, which ended the Italian government’s monopoly over all forms of gambling in Italy.
That was a landmark move and allowed many private gambling operators to provide their services to Italian citizens. All forms of gambling were legalized – not just skill-based gambling such as poker. Cash games, slot games, video poker and a variety of casino games were legalized.
Italy’s Laws on Online Gambling
Italy used to have very strict laws in online gambling. Previously, Italians were not allowed by their government to participate in offshore casinos belonging to various international jurisdictions. The government was forced to change its stand because of an EU investigation which found that the Italian administration was abusing its powers.
The online gambling laws in Italy went for a major overhaul in 2009. In 2010, Italy made it legal for online casinos and other online gambling sites from abroad to operate in Italy and accept Italian players – as long as they were able to obtain an Italian Gambling License issued by the regulatory body in charge of gambling in Italy – AAMS (Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stado – Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies).
Italian Gambling License
There are certain requirements needed to be met for obtaining the Italian gambling license. For one, the gambling operator should have a minimum turnover of €1.5 million. The company should be based in an EU nation and the software should be secure.
Furthermore, a mandatory annual fee of €350,000 has to be paid to the AAMS for the license. This is clearly not cheap, but there are many successful online casinos that hold the Italian Gambling License and pay the high annual fee for the privilege of being able to serve Italian players.
Popularity of Online Casinos in Italy
Online casinos are hugely popular in Italy. They are the #1 choice of all gamblers from that country. What players from Italy look for, is for something that closely approximates the experience at famous land-based casinos such as the Casino Municipale in Venice. There are many reputable online casinos that serve the Italian market. You will find a list of the very best on this page, which has been properly vetted and reviewed.
What Next for the Online Gambling Industry in Italy
The online gambling industry in Italy has a bright future. Italians have taken to online gambling with a vengeance, after having been denied the privilege for years by their own government. The huge popularity of online casinos is regarded as one of the reasons behind the decline in profitability of traditional gambling markets such as horse racing. Profits at online casinos, on the other hand, have been growing at 80% every year. This is just an indication of which way the gambling market in Italy is headed.