The Gioco News seminar at Ice in London reveals the secrets of online gaming: from the success of the Italian regulation in terms of emergence, to the new future.
We presented it to the world with the slogan: ‘The Italian job’. And there could be no better way to tell the successful story of the Italian regulation of online gaming in terms of fight against illegal activities and market development. Certainly an authentic ‘Italian Job’. Our country, for once, can be shown as a concrete example of ‘good practice’ from a regulatory point of view and, therefore, for the choices made by the legislator. A celebration that takes place in a prominent context as the Ice exhibition in London – the most important event in the world as regards gaming – which for the first time ever, thanks to the cooperation with this magazine, has chosen to dedicate a seminar entirely dedicated to the Italian case. Bringing it, in fact, as a successful example in market regulation. In particular, regarding the online. Yes, because the work of Italian State Monopoly during last twenty-four months has led to the achievement of a series of agreements with major international operators that allowed to bring out a very large part of the illegal market, besides having introduced, in previous years, an innovative and cutting-edge regulation model. Letting, as a result, new players enter in our country and, therefore, in the legal circuit.
Francesco Rodano, manager of the Agenzia dei Monopoli’s Ufficio Gioco Online, obtained this result, and he was called to intervene in the seminar, to explain to the public around the world, that is the one gathered from the exhibition Ice in London, the details of this complex but profitable operation. “Looking at the results of 2015, with sports betting which recorded an increase of 25 percent and casino games even of 27 percent compared to 2014, it is clear that these data demonstrate that the policy to fight against illegal gaming is giving tangible results”, the manager of the Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli, the regulator of the Italian gaming market, explains. That’s not all. Looking ahead, in fact, the situation could be even better in terms of recovery of hidden. “The significant reduction of offshore gaming – Rodano adds – together with new taxation methods on the margin and no more on the collection, will finally allow legal operators to compete with each other on equal terms, with less competition from not authorized operators”.
It was not by chance that in the seminar even most important changes characterizing Italian gaming market are discussed, starting just this year. As the transition to taxation on the margin introduced by the government with the Stability Law 2016, the closure of the betting program of the Monopolies, to tender procedure for the allocation of new licenses promising the admission of new operators in online field.
“2016 promises to be a year of change in gaming field and in online and mobile betting”, Christian Tirabassi, FICOM Leisure, company of strategic consulting in gaming market, moderator of the discussion, begins. “The main changes planned – he explains – are taxes that align in all products, going from the turnover to the GGR (Gross Gaming Revenue, that is, the collection after winnings, the so-called ‘drawer’), together with the competition for 120 licenses of online gaming including all gaming and betting products, with the license fee that is established in one-time €200,000 and will be valid until 2022. This timeline provides a period of time together with the sustainable regulation that gives to operators and investors the right conditions to develop an online/mobile successful business in one of the most regulated markets”.
A series of situations that made the Ice seminar an essential showcase for operators too – and not only for regulators interested in regulatory developments – offering “the opportunity to have a better understanding of market trends and opportunities both through organic growth and strategic acquisitions,” Tirabassi adds. Also the lawyer, gaming expert and partner at Baker & McKenzie, speaker of the seminar Rodolfo La Rosa is sure of that: “I think this seminar is the best opportunity to say to the stakeholders that Italian market is finally ready. That is to say, the same market they looked for years with great interest, being the first important market to be regulated in Europe, after ten years of calibrations and interventions, now it is finally ready for the final qualitative leap”. He adds: “The fact that we have been real forerunners in the industry regulation, as one might expect, has meant that we were also the first one to struggle with certain issues that until that time were probably unknown. But now, with the latest progress and innovations brought by the recent stability law, we believe that the market is really mature as the situation is being completed also in the points that have always been critical in our country. That is, the point of fiscal and regulatory stability. A situation which, moreover, always unites online field to the land-based one. And also for this reason we should also assess the mix of these two channels, which is unavoidable with the introduction of new business models oriented to mobile integration, as is happening now everywhere. In a strategy that should be as global as possible, and not only oriented to a single field. If we think about betting market, for example, main innovations that have made the success of the segment have been the introduction of virtual and the opening of the program, which made betting market seriously competitive opening the doors to new operators. As well as the choice to make tax regularization of Ctd, to the point that it has been confirmed in the latest stability law”. But in this potentially complete context we have described, what is still missing to achieve a really perfect condition? “Thinking to online – La Rosa explains – international liquidity and, above all, more general harmonization between various European markets is definitively missing. But if we think in overall terms, as mentioned, there is still much to do on land-based side in terms of mixing of different channels”. Meanwhile, let’s enjoy what’s good. And here comes Italian gaming market. Ready to surprise you, now more than ever.