The work on the financial budget begins: new taxes on games and advance of the tenders

The work on the financial budget begins: new taxes on games and advance of the tenders

Government must recover more than 31 billion euro and also asks for proceeds from the games, assuming the advance of the tenders for the renewal of slots and vlts concessions.

After the first rumors concerning the possible increases in the single tax collection applied to amusement machines, which, although representing a mere preventive hypothesis (as described on these pages), immediately triggered panic among the experts in the sector, today we get to the heart of the work related to the financial budget for 2020, in a week that could already be crucial. The first technical meetings are already underway at the Ministry of the Economy (in direct line with Brussels), which will continue until the Council of Ministers which will take place tomorrow (Tuesday, October, the 1st) in the late afternoon, where the Nota di aggiornamento al Documento di economia e finanza (Def) will be analized. Despite various attempts to identify new forms of revenue for the state, the variables seem to be very few. Even if the political objectives are clear: to sterilize the Vat increase, also taking advantage of the flexibility granted by Europe, but without exaggerating, avoiding in advance any minimum possibility of risk of conflict with the European Union, which would certainly be harmful. To do so, however, the Italian government will have to provide adequate assurances.
First of all, those of a growth: or, at least, the achievement of a debt/Gdp ratio starting to fall already in 2020, after a 2019 that will close with an increase, and for the second consecutive year. The second guarantee is that of a nominal deficit that can’t exceed 2.2 percent to implement that “flexibility in the rules” also relaunched by the commissioner for economic affairs, as well as former premier, Paolo Gentiloni. After the Minister of the Economy, Roberto Gualtieri, had already anticipated that he would have to settle between 2 and 2.4 percent.

FINANCIAL BUDGET OF 31-33 BILLIONS – A rather narrow picture appears from the crossing of these two factors, that affects the possibilities of financial budget of the Nadef (the additional note of the document of economy and finance). With the complex and delicate search for resources that will be played out between fiscal decree, green decree and budget law, necessary to manage the accounts crushed by the super increases of Vat from 23.1 billion (28.8 for 2021) bequeathed by the Conte -1 gevernment. In a fiscal budget that should be of €31-33 billion and that the government wants to characterize above all through a concrete action aimed at combating tax evasion. But the games will also be implicated, as always happens, at least in the last ten years.

THE ACTIONS ABOUT GAMING – As tradition wants, therefore, also this time a space dedicated to the action of contrasting the illegal gaming will complete the package of each budget law, always with a view to intervention against tax evasion, both on the front of gaming taxes and to direct and indirect taxes. To reach the preliminary target for now set between €300 and 500 million, according to what learns from institutional sources.

With an illegal gaming market estimated today at around €20 billion, compared to €110 billion invoiced by the legal sector each year (of which around 90 are returned in winnings), and in any case higher than the approximately 11 billion directly collected by the Treasury.
For a moment, the possible further intervention on the tax collection of the devices was filed – where there no longer seem to be margins of fiscal action, taking into account the now precarious balance of the supply chain – the government would have to study a mix of measures, ranging from tenders for new slot concessions expiring in March 2022, to the onerous extension of tenders for bingo and betting concessions. For the devices, it is assumed an advance of tender procedures (as already happened for other games and as already anticipated, in recent months, on these pages) given that, despite the 2020 deadline, the start of the procedure and the writing of the rules for the new tender should in any case be carried out in the next fiscal budget for 2020. Once the rules have been specified in the fiscal budget, the administration will be able to announce the new tender at the end of 2021, assign the new concessions and collect at least part of the expected amounts. With the winning concessionaires who will then be asked to pay the bill with the actual launch of the new concessions starting from 2022.

However, in addition to the renewal of concessions the framework for action of the new government on games should be completed with a new action aimed at combating evasion, which would consist in the introduction of the obligation for all gaming operators to be registered in the single register, without exceptions.
A new duty in order to be able to operate on the gaming market, which is already required today for those who work in the slots and Vlts supply chain – through the so-called Registro Ries, managed by the Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli – which could be extended to the entire sector. So, even those working in betting, tobacco shops and digital platforms offering online gaming. New measures also for the action of contrasting the so-called “totems”, that is the terminals for online gaming, not allowed in Italian public businesses.

WAIT FOR THE GAMES MANDATE – In the meantime, in Via XX Settembre the mandate for public gaming sector has not yet been discussed. The attention, at this moment, is all focused on the financial budget and there seems to be no room for other discussions. Or, at least, so until last week, with the scenario that could change already in the coming days, also in the light of the changes that could arise in the sector from the measures under consideration for the next fiscal budget, which will require a political director to be implemented. But precisely for this reason the appointments could be postponed for a few weeks. According to the rumors that leaked from the Mef, the political problem concerning the choice of the field wouldn’t have been solved (nor addressed): that is, if the mandate should be assigned to an undersecretary of the Pd or the Movimento 5 stelle. Without prejudice to the “third” option represented by the other undersecretary Guerra, representing Libero e uguali at the government.