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What changes for public gaming following the provisions contained in the tax decree and in the 2020 financial budget.
With the tax decree now converted into law and the Budget bill that will come into force from 2020, January, the 1st, we can take stock of what will change for Italian gaming in 2020, in the light of the provisions of the two final measures, by now.
THE TAX DECREE – The text provides for the extension of the tenders for betting and bingo concessions, the postponement of the start of remote slots, the establishment of the single Register of gaming operators (to which the holders of the venues to refill remote gaming accounts must register, but not the operators offering gaming without cash winning) and the “undercover” agent, the block of payments to subjects without concession and the fight against evasion in the betting sector. Actually, there is also an article on the increase in the Preu for slots and Vlts, but the financial budget repeals it, having set new withdrawal limits, together with the reduction in the payout. In addition, the arrival of the receipt lottery has been postponed to 2020, July, the 1th.
THE BUDGET LAW – Gaming provisions provide for the further taxation of the winnings at the Vlts (from €200 up, we will pay a rate of 20 percent, starting from 15 January 2020), but also those on lotteries, Win for Life, Win for Life Gold and SiVinceTutto (20 percent of those from €500 up, starting from 1 March 2020), as well as the tender for devices concessions. Preu of slots is increased (23.85 percent until the end of 2020, 24 from 2021 onwards) and Vlts (8.5 percent until the end of 2020, 8.6 percent since 2021), to modify (and repeal) the provisions contained in the Tax Decree, but the minimum payout for slots (65 percent) and Vlts (83 percent) is reduced.
THE WORK OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE – Even if the text of the financial budget is unchangeable, it continues, as the parliamentary procedure foresees, its study by the Chamber’s Budget Committee, which must also study the amendments (all intended to be rejected).
Paolo Trancassini (FdI) expresses his astonishment to the colleagues of the Movimento 5 stelle for the changed attitude on some delicate subjects they have always claimed as ‘historical battles’ “, such as “for example, the subject of pathological gambling addiction” And he mentions how “through provisions added in previous measures, they believed they could definitively defeat this serious problem”, while “the draft budget for 2020, instead, plans to collect more revenue from gaming winnings to use them for the needs of the ministry of cultural heritage rather than using them for the recovery of subjects affected by gambling addiction”.
Mauro D’Attis, Forza Italia, criticizes “the way in which the taxation on games has been set, affecting legal gaming without the greater revenue deriving from the taxation of gaming winnings being used to remedy the damages caused by gaming addiction”. On the contrary, Luigi Marattin (Italia Viva), asks “how can we say that the measure in question leads to an increase in taxes” and invites the government representative to “clearly indicate what the expected revenue is for the tax measures introduced, such as the Robin tax, the sugar tax, the plastic tax and the increase in taxes on games and tobaccos”.
The amendment by Mauro D’Attis (Forza Italia) is with no hope of approval, but with political “weight”, which brings into play gaming: “For the strengthening of the control purposes on games and to ensure the certainty of the withdrawal, in order to achieve the progressive objective of reducing the use of cash, from 1 January 2020 the marketing of public gaming on the physical network may also take place through a prepaid card, issued by the concessionaires registered in the single register of public gaming operators, pursuant to article 27 of decree-law 26 October 2019, n.124, exclusively usable for the purchase of gaming services marketed by the issuing entity in the points of sale authorized by the Agenzia delle dogane e dei monopoli and part of the physical network of the same. The prepaid card can be purchased by the player at the concessionaires’ points of sale for an amount not exceeding two hundred and fifty euros and can be equipped with the functions of memorizing the bets recorded by the national totalizer, having the legal effects of the participation receipt and refill for amounts corresponding to the winnings achieved, without prejudice to the applicability of the current anti-money laundering rules at the time of withdrawal of any sum from the card itself. Concessionaires notify to the Agenzia delle dogane e dei monopoli the start of the marketing of public gaming via prepaid card by transmitting the specifications of the installed system”.
Gioconews.it analyzes the trend of Italian Casinos in the past month: collections decreasing in all of them.
In a market strongly influenced by regulatory restrictions such as online gaming, new marketing systems emerge, taking advantage of affiliations and agencies.
After the entry into force of the ban on advertising ordered by the Dignity decree, only one thing is sure for online gaming operators: nothing will be as before. And, in fact, it is not already today, just a few months after the total interruption of all marketing campaigns, once the transition term envisaged by the legislator for sponsorships already underway at the date of entry into force of the rule ended. A new scenario and (let’s face it) decidedly unusual even at international level, given that such a situation had never occurred in any other market. Creating many problems for gaming companies, who have been struggling for months to find valid and effective solutions for their marketing activities, while remaining within the law.
Or, better yet, within the boundaries dictated by the Autorità garante delle comunciazioni (Agcom), through the publication of the Guidelines that have had the merit of setting some general indications to be followed. While not completely solving the problem and leaving many questions still open. However, in this scenario of uncertainty, there are aspects that are too clear: like the importance of the affiliation networks that today more than ever take on an even more strategic role. As clearly emerged from the recent Sigma fair in Malta, where the subject was explored in a very in-depth way, with the experts who all agree on the idea that, in the light of the ban and the indications of the authority, the affiliation remains one of the few possibility in the hands of insiders. This is why operators need to get ready at their best to take advantage of this opportunity, as they are partly already doing. DT9 Affiliations is obtaning a more than significant role on the Italian market, in this phase made even more complex by the regulatory “developments” (so to speak): it is a company skilled in this kind of activity, that has always been able to rely on networks and a specific affiliation strategy, which now becomes strategic in the light of legislative restrictions. Being able to rely on a real “army” of small affiliates able to involve players, even without having to resort to advertising tools. “What we did, several years ago, was to create a company skilled in affiliations purely focused on regulated markets, first of all Italy, proposing a new model based on a different approach more oriented towards the player”, Danilo Di Tota, Ceo of the company, explains. He, after a long time in the world of sports and media, seems to have found the key to success to take over players, managing to bring them into the networks of Italian operators. In a very simple way, it seems: “The secret is in the adoption of marketing techniques and loyalty systems similar to those used by big sports companies to create and manage fan communities. A winning approach even in gaming”, he adds.
Not by chance, Dt9 is producing surprising results that are increasingly linking it to the major players active on the Italian online market. Becoming even more strategic today in the light of the ban on advertising. “After the entry into force of the Dignity decree, we created and adopted a new affiliation model that we have been applying for months now and that is giving excellent results. We have based everything on the creation of a network of skilled and qualified subjects that create relationships with the audience. Interacting through unsocial networks and the various networking platforms and through the use of ‘multi-level’ marketing, which allows different forms of interaction”, Francesco Maddalena, sales manager of Dt9 Affiliations, who manages relations with operators and networks, explains. And now the next step is to strengthen the online front, in perfect compliance with the rules dictated by Agcom, launching a series of websites dedicated to comparing bookmaker’s odds and bonuses, for comparing poker bonuses and those of casino games. A new front to strengthen and further increase activities and assure to Italian concessionaires a continuous contact with the players’ people.
(The article is an extract of the full version published in the Gioco News magazine of December 2019, also available in digital version by clicking here)