After the decree of technical rules returned from Brussels (despite the many notices from the stackeholders), the Italian regulator gives the green light to the new amusement market, with new measures on the distribution of games.
The amusement machines (flipper, arcade, etc.) currently in circulation in Italy are safe and will be able to continue to operate, even after the entry into force of the new legislation that rewrites the distribution and approval rules just issued by the regulator. But only under appropriate indications. With the only exception of ticket redemptions, which continue to remain in the limbo they were in before the new regulation, as was to be expected and unavoidable. This is, therefore, the main novelty introduced by the new system of rules fixed by the Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli for the Amusement sector, with the new decree of administrative rules which is added to that of technical rules already published in recent days, after the green light obtained from Brussels. With the new measures, the requests of the operators are accepted, but only in part, worried about the possible disappearance of the games active to date, thus avoiding compromising the entire market. Even if the insiders, probably, would have wished for something more, such as an “amnesty” on ticket redemptions or ad hoc transition period for this type of devices (which ended up in the eye of the storm for some years now and put into the scales by some regional laws): but for an intervention of this kind the intervention of the legislator – who didn’t arrive – would have been necessary, and not of the regulator, who can add nothing to the indications of the law.
However, from a first interpretation of the new provision just released by the administration, a rather clear and complete picture emerges, which aims to safeguard the pure entertainment market, trying to create new opportunities and granting all possible flexibility to avoid the disappearance of this kind of games, which in fact represent the only real alternative to the (commonly called) “gambling”.
As is known, in fact, the new legal provisions on the sector, which had forced the Agenzia to issue and implement the new approval and distribution rules, provided for the entry into force of the new administrative regime starting from the middle of the current year: with the official expiration date of the previous certification rules set at the beginning of 2022. Starting from this date, games that don’t comply with the new technical rules will no longer be able to be distributed. A situation that had raised many doubts within the supply chain, with the risk expressed by many operators of seeing the devices currently existing in Italy and still in circulation compromised. The administration has now answered to this doubt, with the latest regulatory provision, providing for the possibility of keeping all the existing devices, only updating the authorizations. For all owners of pure entertainment devices already approved and complying with the compliance features, it will therefore be necessary to declare their existence and location to the administration, to obtain the certificate necessary for the operations. This is valid on a general level, with the only exception of some types of games considered more “at risk” (as they have technical characteristics so they could be used in a fraudolent manner), for which a technical verification must be carried out.
OLD GAMES ARE SAFE – Not only. With the new rules, the administration also “saves” the devices authorized for installation even before 2003. Thus allowing to safeguard even the “vintage” forms of entertainment, which can be represented by the old “arcade” (like the old Pac- Man) or by pinball machines from previous years, which can remain where they are until December, the 31st, 2021. After that, from January, the 1st, 2022, only devices that comply with the new technical specifications can be installed. However, they may be subject to a (simplified) certification procedure as early as the next few weeks. Through this solution, therefore, it will be possible to keep even the most “ancient” kind of games in business, even in the long term, thus also allowing those forms of entertainment venues that are having success around the world, such as the so-called “Bar Arcades”, where you can find vintage or old-time gaming offers.
NEW TYPES OF VENUES – And speaking of new forms of gaming and new venues, also the other changes compared to the past introduced by the new AdM rule should be noted. With the birth of a “new” kind of license (ex article 86 of Tulps), which opens the doors also to “environments dedicated” to pure entertainment. Until last month, in fact, we needed to obtain a license ex article 86, with which the possibility of installing Awps was also automatically granted, to open an “old-fashioned” arcade, or the “venues specifically set for the development of lawful gaming and equipped with automatic, semi-automatic or electronic amusement and entertainment devices, as well as any other mechanical devices such as, for example, billiards, table footballs, pinball machines or juke-boxes;”, as per the previous definition. On the contrary, with the new regulation “venues exclusively dedicated to gaming with devices without cash winning” are added to all the previous types of venues (bars, restaurants, newsstands, beach resorts, clubs, hotels and so on). This means that who requires a license for an arcade will be able to declare that he only plays pure entertainment gaming within its premises. For a clear declaration of intent that applies to both authorities and visitors: in perfect opposition to the “no-slot sticker” introduced by some regional laws (and even national ones, for those subjects who don’t want to host slots in their places. However, this is not a mere formal label, as in this kind of premises, together with the “public gaming rooms specifically set up for the development of lawful gaming” and the “authorized traveling show activities” and no other, it will be possible to install “all kinds of devices” without winning. Including, therefore, those types such as ticket redemptions which, on the contrary, can’t stay in other “mixed” premises, such as those responsible for administration, catering or other main activity. Among the further news, moreover, there is also that of the new limit of devices without cash winning, which set the maximum number of devices to be set inside any type of authorized venue, based on the size. Also overcoming the limit previously imposed in bars to host at least one device without cash winning next to the slot machines.
WAITING FOR THE GUIDELINES – Now only the guidelines are awaited to complete the framework of the “new” Italian Amusement sector, that the administration will have to issue by next July to establish the approval criteria to which the certification bodies must comply to authorize the devices starting from next year. And from this further path, other opportunities and gaming forms may also arise: such as the remote interconnection of arcades, which could allow a new form of entertainment, at least on some games, which could allow competitions between players who are in different cities or even countries. A form that could pave the way for new videogame competitions, that are increasingly widespread and popular in the world, even in arcades, and open other scenarios for other games, such as for example in pinball machines: this played at a competitive level too, but on spot. While now we could also introduce “live” challenges, but remotely played.
In this sense, therefore, AdM’s review of the rules of entertainment opens up new scenarios and opportunities: despite the critical note regarding ticket redemptions, which continue to remain in the limbo in which they had already been for some time, at least until the end of year. Continuing to focus on the tolerance of the legislator and/or on that sort of “non-aggression” pact never written (and sometimes violated), by virtue of which this kind of games has continued to survive over time, albeit in a reduced version. But on this point we could not expect an intervention by the Agenzia, while a primary legislative intervention would continue to be necessary, as could be the idea of an amnesty, already evaluated in the past. The fact is, however, that this time it is a matter of resisting for a few months, and then obtaining full legitimacy, through the new certification rules that will come into force from January, 2022.
The Eurispes Italy Report highlights the growth of esports in our country, on 33 percent of people who follow events based on video game competitions every day.
Rome – There is also talk of videogames and esports in the 2021 Italy Report drawn up by the Eurispes, presented at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome today, May, the 13th.
Highlighting both the spread of the phenomenon and the increase in the number of people who daily follow events based on video game competitions in our country: 466 thousand (+33 percent compared to the previous year). And this user base spreads to about 1,410,000 (+20 percent), if we also take into account those who follow an E-Sports event several times a week.
The “Virtual sports in the year zero” sheet then reports other important figures.
It is estimated that the global esports industry will reach a value of $1.5 billion during 2021. In Italy, 8 out of 10 people declare that they have played a video game at least once in the last 6 months (Euromedia Research – Multiplayer.it). People mainly play from the smartphone (35.2 percent), from the fixed console (27.5 percent), from the Pc (20.6 percent).
Furthermore, there is a widespread idea that e-sports support the development of an open and inclusive environment (66 percent) (Nielsen 2020).
BUSINESS MODELS IN ITALY AND THE FUTURE OF THE MARKET – E-Sports in Asia (South Korea above all), the United States and the United Kingdom are now a consolidated reality; in Europe, the structurally “most advanced” country is currently France.
Three different kinds of gaming venues have been developed: Arenas, E-Sports bars and Lan Halls.
In Italy, clubs are emerging combining the characteristics of the classic bar or pub with those of a modern arcade, as a consequence of the growing diffusion of the ESports phenomenon in our country too. These are entertainment venues rather than training, where you can watch live competitions of the main “e-sports” meetings at national and international level. The challenge will be to understand which business model is the most suitable to our market.
THE ESPORTS RECOGNITION PATH – The International Olympic Committee stressed that the Olympic movement cannot ignore the growth of virtual sports, noting that competitive video games involve physical activity comparable to that required in more traditional sports. In the 2020 Italy Report, Eurispes emphasized the need to obtain legal recognition, in the field of sports law, of video games that reflect the values laid down in the Olympic Charter.
This would also make it possible to control risk situations, such as illegal betting and illegal behavior. With a note dated 22 May 2020, the president of Coni acknowledged that he had shared with the national council the report on electronic sports presented by the president of the E-Sports Italia promoting committee, which highlighted, among other things, the priority need of a representative subject of all national realities and in line with the principles of the sports system.
One year later, it should be noted that the recognition path has been traced, but the question of which electronic sports will be recognized under sports law remains open.
On this point, it should be noted that during a summit on 12 December 2020, the representatives of the Ioc provided some important information, making a distinction between four categories of video games: virtual sports in which there is the player’s physical activity; virtual sports where there is no physical element; games of fantasy and strategy; pure entertainment games. For the moment, the Ioc has urged international federations to recognize the first category, with particular attention to the regulation of fair competition, respect for the values of sport and reaching new audience. There is also an abnormal situation that is occurring in Italy: on the one hand, our country is very late, compared to France, Germany and Spain, as regards the development of infrastructures where you can play and compete with video games; on the other hand, on the institutional level, it is leading the way on a legal and regulatory level, thanks to the work of the ESport Italia – Coni Promoting Committee, the cooperation of Eurispes and some of the main Italian universities.
THE ITALY REPORT “FOR A NEW RECONSTRUCTION” – The Italy Report, now in its 33rd edition this year, is composed by six chapters, each of them offers a dichotomous reading of the reality examined. Each chapter is illustrated through essays and 60 phenomenological cards. Therefore, issues that the Institute considers representative of the current political, economic and social issues of our country are addressed through a dual reading of reality. The thematic dichotomies identified for the 2021Italy Report are: Continuity/Division, Oikos/Kosmos, Sustainability/Unsustainability, Science/Consciousness, Health/Illness, South/North.
The Report also deals with various other topical issues, through the phenomenological cards such as, for example, migration phenomena, the innovation capacity of Made in Italy, sustainable fashion, communication conveyed through social networks, E- Sport, the southern question, the professions of the future, the enhancement of human capital, the tax authorities and possible reforms, robotics and industry 4.0, ethical fashion, digital school, pupils with special educational needs, smart cities and new housing needs, infrastructures.
According to the surveys carried out, then, the tendencies of the Italians on many issues emerge. As regards the trust in institutions, for example, the President of the Republic, the army and the police, achieve an excellent result in terms of consents. The magistrature, the church and the trade unions fall. The work of regional presidents divides public opinion in half, with a predominance of discouraged people, yet many are asking for greater independence for the regions (54.7 percent), while the direct election of the president of the Republic is still not convincing.
People are pessimistic over the future of the country’s economy, yet for most citizens their economic condition in the last year remained stable, with positive signs about savings, even if mortgage and rent are heavier and the use of installments is widespread.
Europe seems essencial to get out of the crisis, but the widespread opinion is that Italy must count more as a member state. The confident prevail over the arrival of European funds, albeit slightly.
Even today, in the relationships between women and men there are too many differences in work and in society, the most discriminated are transgenders, homeless and gypsies.
As regards ethical issues, many Italians say they are for the protection of unmarried couples, heterologous fecundation, euthanasia and living wills, and against assisted suicide, same-sex adoptions, soft drugs and prostitution.
Speaking of health, if the mind market is today worth a billion euros globally and the Nhs invests little in psychological assistance, the data collected in the Eurispes survey indicate that in Italy one out of 5 interviewed (19 percent) have taken psychotropic drugs, in the last year 27.2 percent went to a psychologist, 5.6 percent to a psychiatrist.
As regards the Eurispes survey relating to eating habits, the stability of the number of vegetarians is highlighted, “without” diets and the use of vitamin supplements are very widespread.
As for animals, we find them in 4 out of 10 houses and the trend is to have more than one. The monthly expenditure that is dedicated to them, in 63.4 percent of cases, is between €31 and €100.
FARA (EURISPES PRESIDENT): “A PEACEFUL CULTURAL REVOLUTION IS NEEDED” – In the general considerations that open the Report, the Eurispes president, Gian Maria Fara, stresses: “The pandemic has questioned values, interests, choices, ethics, priorities, perspectives. It has redefined alliances, political borders, relations between states. It has imposed new economic and social paths. It has highlighted the fragility and delays of the system, inefficiencies and inability to manage complexity. It has shown the failure of magical claims of regional autonomies. But, above all, it has highlighted the need to rebuild a state identity, compressed over the years by a devolution downwards, to the Regions, and upwards, to Europe. At the same time, it has dismissed the idea that citizens can effectively replace – and at a supposedly higher ethical level – political institutions.
Covid is also the healthy ‘educational slap’ given by a grouchy father to scold the reckless son to a sense of responsibility. A microscopic virus has qualified the huge subject of the future as a ‘necessity’ and imposed on all generations the urgency to engage in the cultivation of long-term thinking.
The disorganized country, as it is today, is unable to meet the challenges that the pandemic has launched. Without a peaceful ‘Cultural Revolution’ we will be doomed to oblivion, to the loss of that little bit of identity left.
Meanwhile, intolerance, insecurity and the search for a possible future are growing, but above all the demand for a confident leader, to free the country from the uncertainty and approximation, with which it has been leaded since the beginning of the pandemic. The Draghi government – the result of the constant work of the President of the Republic – is the sign of the awareness, among the various political forces, of the gravity of the situation.
Contentious institutions, contradicting or distant from each other spread a sense of division where, instead, the perception of a ‘close ranks’ should pass at every level; hence, the general distress, the uncertainty of the present, the fear of the future. The arrival of the pandemic is part of a very difficult situation in a country marked by a deep economic and social crisis and a demographic crisis that reduces the number of births year after year. In short, an increasingly poor and old country which, at the same time, is experiencing the progressive weakening of the middle classes, the true backbone of democracy.
If, as Shakespeare said in Julius Caesar, ‘men at some time are masters of their fates’, this is the time to demonstrate it, by deploying all the wisdom, commitment, civic sense, spirit of cooperation needed, putting aside any personal interest.
The changes that are occurring in the notions of time, in the relationship between past, present and future are particularly important; as in the notions of space, in the relationship between local, national, international, between virtual and real. What future do we want to build?
The construction of future scenarios goes beyond a simple projection of the present situation: it requires a vision, an idea of a possible future, a system of reference values, essentially a strong thought, able to guide our actions today towards a very specific direction. In this sense, the warnings of one of the fathers of strategic planning, Hazan Özbekhan, co-founder and first director of the Club di Roma, 1968, still apply today: ‘Planning is not projecting the present into the future, but the opposite, having an idea of future to be grafted into the present'”.
The Ministry of Economy takes the first steps to reopen the sector, with the hypothesis of restarting the games since June.
Despite the first reopenings in Italy begin today, Monday, April, the 26th with restaurants starting again to work in the evening, but only if outdoor, gaming activities still have to wait. With the most probable hypothesis that is that of a reopening starting from June. According to what was revealed by GiocoNews.it and later confirmed by the Undersecretary for the Economy, Claudio Durigon, the Minister of Economy, Daniele Franco, would have sent the request for reopening to the Ministry of Health and the Technical Scientific Committee, with the most likely date that is June, the 2nd.
Along with all other indoor activities. A choice that is consistent with what the prime minister, Mario Draghi, has always said, declaring that he continues to monitor the infection data on a daily basis, and then to act accordingly, suggesting the possibility of modifying the decisions already made previously.
About games, in fact, the decision had not even been taken, given that in the last government provision (the so-called “Covid Decree”) last week, there was no mention of gaming, thus deducing the continuity of the long closure, at least until a later date.
And now we learn that the return date could be June, the 2nd, as it was already told also to the operators of Italian casinos: as already happened previously, last June, gaming premises should therefore be subject to the same treatment of casino, at least on dates.
This is an important decision for the sector, also taking into account that in June there will be the European football championship, which is the source of many bets, in Italy and abroad: an appointment that one cannot even imagine to miss, for the Italian agencies. after almost a year of closures that have already compromised the activities of many operators. Therefore, in this case the date of June, the 2nd, could represent an ideal time to restart: but above all, the last appointment available for the survival of the sector, taking into account that the following months, that is the summer period, on the contrary represent the moment of lower income and attendance for gaming environments.
For the theme parks, however, the reopening date provided for in the Covid decree of July, the 1st, 2021 remains, for now.
A pending crisis in the Italian amusement industry could have influences on surrounding European countries, a seminar during London’s EAG Online trade show was warned yesterday.
A panel discussed “The Amusement Revolution in Italy”, which saw speakers warn of pending Italian laws that would put insufferable burdens on the country’s estimated 110,000 amusement machines.
Trade leaders from Italy took participants through the current situation. There has been a long-running problem in Italy with ticket redemption, with some local authorities attempting to impose gaming machine regulations on the devices.
The Italian industry, led by its trade associations, has constantly fought any imposed link on ticket redemption games with slot machines, and has even commissioned a Rome university to provide detailed and independent research to prove no connection. That research, the seminar was told, is close to completion.
Meanwhile, the Italian Government is proposing new laws for all of the country’s amusement devices, among them some very damaging proposals that every machine entering the country – even football tables, kiddie rides and novelty games – should be homologated. This, asserts the trade associations, would place an intolerable burden on the movement of machines into Italy and force operators to buy only Italian-made games.
The seminar, brought together by GiocoNews, was moderated by David Snook of InterGame. The speakers included GiocoNews’ Editor, Alessio Crisantemi, Alessandro Lama, president of Federazione Amusement Confesercenti, Mauro Zaccaria of FEE Consortium, the FEC organisation, and Claudio Dalla Pria, member of the SAPAR trade association. They were joined by Jason Frost, president of Euromat.
Lama gave a concise update with slides on the findings so far of the ticket redemption study, that showed no correlation between ticket redemption and gambling. The conception of players was that the games were totally harmless and did not lead to compulsive gambling.
The problem, said Claudio Della Pria, was exacerbated by localised powers to dictate what games are permitted locally and other rules.
Mauro Zaccaria said that the estimated of the number of non-gambling machines currently in Italy – including ticket redemption – was a conservative 110,000.
They all agreed with Jason Frost that the larger picture would be highly damaging. The Italian proposals, currently with the European Commission for approval, had many negative issues, including the top value of all prizes taken out of a location, the costly homologation of all games entering the country and lack of information about how the rules may apply to the existing market.
Alessandro Lama emphasised that there was now a consultation period during which interested parties, including individuals, companies and trade organisations, could lobby the Commission on the damaging consequences of approving the Italian decree. Those comments have to be with the Commission by May 10.
Euromat was in the course of approving its own submission in support of the Italian trade. Any others wishing to add their voices to the campaign, should direct them to Giuseppe Casella, Head of Unit, Prevention of Technical Barriers, Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission, Avenue des Nerviens 105, 1040 Bruxelles, Belgium.
The European Lotteries emphasises the importance in the fight against match fixing.
Opportunities and risks for the Gambling Commission, which is itself under review (more…)
The Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, who spoke today in the Chamber of Deputies, announced new restrictive measures that affect games too. After the previous closure of bingo halls, slot/vlt halls, amusement halls, casinos and theme parks decided with the previous decree of October, the 25rd, today a new and further tightening on gaming arrives throughout the national territory. With different provisions for each region, according to the risk coefficient.
“In line with the provisions for the closure of gaming, bingo and betting rooms, corners used for betting and video games will be closed, everywhere”. Going therefore to “turn off” every form of “land-based” gaming, after the only remaining possibilities in the last few days were slots and bets made in bars, which however closed at 6pm. Now, however, bets are forbidden even if bars remain open with the same times. And the only form of gaming remains that of lotteries, lotto and scratch and wins, which can still be played in tobacconists.
A further tightening on the sector comes with the next Dpcm, containing “measures aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19” and, as for the closure of shopping centers on holidays and days before holidays, the provision applies to the whole national territory.
DIFFERENT MEASURES BETWEEN REGIONS – “The next Dpcm – the premier explained to the deputies present in the hall on Monday, November, the 2nd, – will identify three areas corresponding to as many risk scenarios: the inclusion of a region within an area will take place with a decree of the Minister of Health and will only depend on the risk coefficient, as certified by the istituto superiore di sanità. It will then be possible to enter and exit from one category to another, always with a decree of the ministry”.
As anticipated in recent days, therefore, the so-called “scenario 4” is now a reality and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is particularly violent, as shown by the data provided by the Italian premier, both on the health system and on the production system of the country, even with a number of contagions that in Italy is lower than those of Spain, France and the United Kingdom.
The President of the Global Lottery Monitoring System, Ludovico Calvi, announces the official opening of the new Glms Operational Hub at the Loto Quebec premises in Montreal, Canada.
Glms and Loto Quebec have consolidated their strong co-operation by setting up an operational hub at the Lottery’s premises with the objective being to analyse detect, prevent, and report irregular and suspicious betting activities that could threaten the integrity of sport competitions. GLMS’ main goal is to provide high quality information and intelligence through a peerless monitoring system supplemented by an extended human analysis targeting North American jurisdictions.
The Glms President, Ludovico Calvi says: “With the recent sport betting deregulation and legalisation process in North America and the official opening of the GLMS Operational Hub at Loto Quebec’s premises in Montreal, our association is completing its full globalisation process. Loto Quebec has been a very active GLMS member in recent years and we value the standards of their Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental consciousness and awareness raising of issues including problem gambling and integrity for sports. GLMS is a stronger organisation today with a distinctive – glocal approach – leveraging on truly global operations and local intelligence and expertise”.
Sports Betting Director at Loto-Quebec, Louis Beaudet, states: “The safeguard of sports integrity should be a priority for all sports betting operators. Loto-Quebec is proud to contribute to GLMS’ mission as we share the same core values. It is truly an honour to host the third GLMS hub and be able to directly contribute to its success.
Glms’ Canadian operational hub will be targeting primarily North American jurisdictions and sports. GLMS thus becomes a true monitoring and intelligence alliance of global operations and local know how and capabilities, comprising sports betting operators from all parts of the globe.
This is the third in a series of hubs that were launched in other parts of the world (Denmark and Hong Kong) and will further contribute to the accomplishment of the key mission for GLMS, making it ever more credible and effective to all its stakeholders, including law enforcement authorities worldwide, the Council of Europe (& its Group of Copenhagen), the Olympic and sport movement, and last but not least, its members, counting over 30 lotteries and 5 associate members worldwide.
After 3 months of lockdown, the land-based gaming sector has now officially mostly took off, in Italy. From Abruzzo to Valle d’Aosta, here are the decrees launched by the Regions to (also) assure the relaunch of gaming activities, between June, the 15th and July, the 14th.
Between June, the 15th, and June, the 19th, many of the activities in the regions will become fully operational, with the exception of those in the province of Trento (July, the 14th) and Lazio, which at the moment must wait until July, the 1st, but which could see change the situation in the next few hours, following the protests of politics and workers, and above all the discussion table just opened in the Region.
As we write, the Province of Bolzano is missing, which is expected to legislate on the matter in the next few hours, while Marche signed the decree with which business can start again from Tuesday, June, the 16th.
But what are the rules that operators must follow to reopen safely and to avoid the fines?
Here, region by region, what the decrees approved for the implementation of the Prime Ministerial Decree of June, the 11th, provide for and the guidelines established by the Conference of the Regions.
WHO STARTS FROM JUNE, THE 15TH – In strict alphabetical order, we start from Abruzzo, with the decree signed by the governor Marco Marsilio, which specifies the protocols for gaming activities in a detailed attachment.
Same date for Basilicata and Campania, which in addition to the national rules has adopted a “Covid anti-diffusion security protocol” drawn up by the Crisis Unit of the Region which, among other things, prohibits customers from attending sports competitions and/or communications on monitors, in order to avoid gatherings, inside the premises of the betting centers.
Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lombardia, Molise, which issued its provision even before the Prime Ministerial Decree, Piemonte, Puglia, Sardinia, Sicily, Umbria (here the guidelines) and the Valle d’Aosta are in accordance with the guidelines approved by the Conference of Regions and Autonomous Provinces,
Without forgetting the dean of all the Regions: Tuscany, which acted as a forerunner with the decree signed by the governor Enrico Rossi for the relaunch of gaming from June, the 13th.
WHO STARTS ON 19 – Calabria is among the “latecomers”, followed by Liguria, which relaunches slots, games, bingo and bets from June, the 19th, while it anticipates that of the Sanremo casino at 16.
In the same group, Emilia Romagna, which only allows the activity of arcades for minors from 15, and Veneto, which brings together slot rooms, arcades, bingo rooms and Casino di Venezia.