Category: Regulation

30 Sep 2019

Villarosa (Mef): ‘Gaming, reduction of volumes and Vlts is a priority’

Reduction of gaming volumes, implementation of the advertising ban and a national law: undersecretary Alessio Villarosa promises it to the program PresaDiretta, on the air on September, the 30th.

“We want to reduce the Vlts even more. It is a commitment that I take in front of you. This Government wants to reduce gaming volume as much as possible, because it has exponentially increased. It will start with a reduction but also aims to eliminate them”. Target “reducing all those devices that are really aggressive and that are the cause of gambling addiction. And also of the related places”.
These are the words with which Alessio Villarosa, undersecretary of the Economy, traces the future of the public gaming sector in the interview to “PresaDiretta” Tv programm, for the inquiry “Vizio di Stato” (State vice), which will be on the air today, Monday, September, the 30th.

According to reports from the Askanews news agency, Villarosa also concentrates on the ban on gaming advertising, introduced last year with the Dignity decree. “We need to check whether it is a contract already in place or not. And if there are any existing concessions they must be completed until the end but within the year (actually, by August 2019, as required by the decree, for contracts in place at the time the provision came into force). So, in 2020 we won’t have any advertising. It is also a promise of the new Government”.
Then, the undersecretary of the Economy points out that legal gaming collects about €107 billion a year, of which 10 go to the Government. “Eliminating a collection of 10 billion in a year is obviously unthinkable, but I think it is possible doing it gradually”.
As for the need for a national law on gaming, for Villarosa “it is necessary to intervene, but not even to dismantle all the good that has been done in recent years (by the Regions and the Municipalities). So, it must be done but very carefully”.

22 Aug 2019

Reorganization, advertising, Awps and tenders: the measures hanging on the government crisis

The government crisis blocks all the work needed for Italy and for public gaming: in addition to flat tax, Vat increase and €80, waiting for reorganization, Awps and tenders.

It is impossible to plan economic choices, for Italian families and businesses, today: everything becomes harder than usual due to the government crisis, which doesn’t seem meant to be immediately resolved. It is for individuals, to whom the “flat tax” is promised for more than a year, risking, on the contrary, to obtain “in exchange” an increase in Vat from 2020, in addition to losing the €80 bonus. But companies are also in trouble, forced to define their budgets for 2020 without exactly knowing which and how many taxes they will have to pay since next year, with various concessions on the line, such as super-amortization. However, the situation is even worse for gaming companies, for which in addition to all the problems and difficulties common to every type of economic activity, there are also a series of specific problems that will remain unsolved. Despite being urgent and crucial for the sector.

THE AWAITED REFORM – Starting from the reorganization of the sector: announced for the first time by the current government through the Dignity decree, in July 2018 (despite it has already been promised and announced by the previous governments and even “touched” with the agreement reached in the unified conference in 2017, and never implemented), and promised within the next six months, only to be postponed who knows how long, until the announcement of a few days ago of the undersecretary with responsibility for games, who just in the period of closure of the chambers (and on the eve of the crisis) announced that he was working on a Single Code of the Games, which at this point it is not possible to known what happens to it, waiting for a new majority at Palazzo Chigi.

THE ADVERTISING ISSUE – The reorganization of the sector is not the only measure ordered by the government on the gaming sector through the Dignity decree. On the contrary, the most sensational (and discussed) political initiative carried out by the government through the July 2018 decree was the introduction of a total ban on advertising with which any form of advertising, promotion and communication of gaming, even indirect, has been forbidden. In addition, any form of sponsorship of sports events and other types of events is prohibited. A decision that is jeopardizing publishing companies, large and small media and creating important deficit into the coffers of sports clubs, which ask the government to intervene for more than a year now, but in vain. After the Guidelines published by the Autorità garante delle comunicazioni last April, in an attempt to make the partially unachievable rules applicable, a new debate was unleashed with accusations by the 5 stelle political leader Luigi Di Maio, who spoke of “softened watered” by AgCom, promising a new restrictive intervention, by decree. Announcing a “Dignity decree bis”, of which there is no trace. Beyond the rumors coming from Via Venti Settembre relating to the drafting of an “explanatory newsletter” referring to the ban on advertising, of which we are waiting to know the process. Government (and Parliament) permitting.

THE SLOTS ISSUE – Among the unsolved issues waiting for an intervention abou gaming, there is also the entire front of gaming machines and, in particular, the so-called “AwpRs”: that is, the new generation of remote devices, whose debut is expected on the market, in theory, starting from next year. Reading the law, the new slots “with remote activation” must be produced and marketed starting from January 2020, since from that same date authorizations relating to the current generation of slot machines will no longer be released. But it is a shame that to date not even the smallest details relating to this kind of entertainment machines are known, with the decree of technical rules expected for months (indeed, for years by now), whose publication must also be anticipated even going to Brussels, at the Business Department of the European Commission, for a period of at least three months, as required by the EU Directive on technical assets circulating within the Union. Taking into account that, according to games manufacturers, it takes at least six months for the start of production of a new generation of slots (and at least a year, according to network concessionaires), the risk is that of a total block of the sales for producers starting next January, if an extension of the current authorisation for the current slots won’t be introduced. Or at least if the process of introduction of the Awprs won’t be accelerated.

THE REFORM OF FOOTBALL POOL – Among the surprise moves made by the yellow-green executive with regard to public gaming is the one related to the football pool, with the announcement of a restyling of the oldest of the winning games that suddenly arrived in the first months of th government, immediately after the same majority had declared war to gambling. Instead, the government’s decision was to increase resources for sport, also focusing on the choice, defined as “revolutionary” to relaunch contests to prediction “that don’t involve risks related to gambling, such as the football pool”, modifying the percentage for the prize pool by providing that a portion of the proceeds is assigned to the Sport e Salute Spa (formerly Coni Servizi) company. The process has already been started and implementation measures are expected.

RECEIPTS LOTTERY – It was the other big news announced by the government, in the most general astonishment. After previous attempts by various governments, the one led by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and openly hostile to gambling, announced without much trouble the launch of a new and further Lottery: that of receipts, which is preparing to make its debut in January 2020. In theory. According to what leaked by the Mef, the new lottery has already been settled and has already multiplied the chances of winning already before being born. Compared to the aseptic project leaked from the previous law that rather blandly introduced the new form of gaming as a mere instrument to combat tax evasion, from the latest rumors it seems to take shape a real “gambling”, also rich in appeal. To the point that a progressive development of the game has been foreseen which will see the transition to weekly draws, starting from 2021, after a first year of bets characterized by monthly and annual draws. But that’s not all. Yes, because every month three prizes will be drawn, of the value of €50,000 for the first drawn, 30,000 for the second one and 10,000 for the third one. While the annual draw will see a first prize with a value of even one million euros. The two agencies involved are working on the drafting of the regulation: Entrate e dogane -Monopoli, in view of the lottery debut set for next year. Except other changes.

BETTING DECREE – Among the most sensational initiatives of the current government about gambling, there is also the failure to publish the new regulation on bets that should have ratify the introduction of two innovative parties in betting, such as the so-called “cash out” and the mistake in the shares. After months of tests made by the Agenzia delle dogane e dei monopoli together with Sogei and the concessionaires, the trial period that should have been followed by the actual implementation of the rules expired, while the failure to publish in the Official Journal the ministerial decree signed by Giovanni Tria interrupted the process, following the instructions of the Ministry of Economy. And now we are waiting for developments, after the huge investments made by the companies on the suggestion of the legislator to implement the new methods, in order to make the legal offer competitive with respect to the illegal one.

TERRITORIAL ISSUE AND CONCESSIONS – Among the various open fronts relating to public gaming, the most important one, however, remains that of the so-called Territorial issue: that is, the clashbetween the central State and the local, regional or municipal rules, which have restrictive action on the installations of gaming products despite the rule of law still in force in the sector. Without a solution to the conflict, by virtue of which a huge controversy is still pending in the main administrative courts of Italy, it is impossible to proceed with the issuing of calls for tenders for the renewal of concessions for physical points of sale of bets and bingo, currently extended in return of payment. An unsustainable situation and not only for the insiders, as it could lead to problems with Europe and cause, at a theoretical level, even an infringement procedure against our country.

Well, all these situations, of a more or less urgent nature but extremely necessary in all cases, therefore remain at the mercy of events and waiting for developments from Parliament, that must decide about the fall of the current Executive. Although the current majority turned out to be decidedly hostile towards the gaming sector, it is clear that a change of government and new possible elections would involve an unavoudable delay for any issue, certainly not considered a priority with respect to other needs of the country. It is therefore difficult to indicate which situation is better for the gaming industry than those that can be identified in this crisis situation.

21 Aug 2019

Government: the consultations begin, the possible scenarios for gaming

After the resignation  of Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, consultations at the Quirinale begin today, Wednesday, August, the 21st, and will end tomorrow, to give the country a new government: between risks and hopes for public gaming.

Only one thing is sure, today, in Italy: they will be flash consultations. After the conversation between the resigning Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte and the Head of State, Sergio Mattarella, the Quirinale has disclosed the timetable for the work, that begins today afternoon, Wednesday, August, the 21st, and then ends on Thursday, the 22nd, after the procession of all the protagonists of the current legislature. Putting all the possible solutions in place, in order to give concrete answers to the country. The timetable released by the Quirinale confirms the intention of the President of the Republic not to lengthen the times of a crisis that yesterday ended with the debate in the Senate and the resignation of Giuseppe Conte announced in the Chamber and then delivered to Sergio Mattarella in the evening.
In the discussion with the head of state that put an end to the “yellow-green” government nothing has emerged, only the feeling that the Quirinale doesn’t consider the experience of the current majority completely “ended”. In the statement released after the meeting, we read that Mattarella “takes note” of the resignation, without even the reserve to decide (as instead appeared in the previous formulas), inviting the settlement of current affairs and also avoiding the expression of the “Government in charge”.

Certainly, looking at the calendar (shown below), proposing rather urgent rhythms, it is clear that this time extensions won’t be granted unless there is a clear and public intention to engage in a new political government and a new majority. Only in front of an explicit request, the President Mattarella will be able to give space to pursue an attempt of this kind, perhaps inviting not to fall into the re-edition of tables for program contracts, as happened last year. But if a possible majority attempt were to be successful, then the prime minister appointed by the political forces could be immediately confirmed.
Now, unlike a year ago after the vote, we aren’t dealing with the birth of a government but with the management of a crisis (although a still very ambiguous one and rich in political strategy) that cannot last too long without bringing the country at the edge of the abyss, given also the important autumn deadlines. For these reasons, it is to be expected that Matterella will corner political leaders, with possible paths that could be two: or a renewed Lega and 5 Stelle front, or a new one between Pd and 5 Stelle. And only if the attempts to create a new majority should fail, then the Head of State will have to opt for the dissolution of the Chambers and for the elections that, however, will be managed by a Government of electoral guarantee and not by an Executive government with Conte as Prime Minister and Salvini as Minister of the Interior, who no longer has any reason to exist.

THE CALENDAR OF CONSULTATIONS – As mentioned, the consultations of the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella begin on Wednesday, August, the 21st, at 4 pm at the Quirinale and will end on Thursday, August, the 22nd.
Here is the schedule for Wednesday, August, the 21st:
– The president emeritus of the republic Giorgio Napolitano, not being in Rome, will be heard by phone.

– 4.00 pm: President of the Senate, Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati
– 4.45 pm: President of the Chamber of Deputies, Roberto Fico
– 5.30 pm: “Per le autonomie (SVP-PATT, UV)” Parliamentary Group of the Senate
– 6.00 pm: mixed parliamentary group of the senate
– 6.30 pm: mixed parliamentary group of the chamber

– 7.00 pm: Liberi uguali Parliamentary Group of the Chamber
Here is the schedule for Thursday, August, the 22nd:
– 10.00 am: Fratelli d’Italia parliamentary groups of the Senate and the Chamber
– 11.00 am: partito democrativo Parliamentary Groups of the Senate and the Chamber
– 12.00 pm: Forza Italia parliamentary groups of the Senate and the Chamber
– 4.00 pm: lega parliamentary group of the Senate and the Chamber
– 5.00 pm: Movimento 5 stelle parliamentary Groups of the Senate and the Chamber

THE SCENARIOS FOR PUBLIC GAMING – The sector of public gaming remains on the line, just waiting to know the new government, like the rest of the country. Given that the creation of a new government majority will have significant implications for the industry, based on the policies that can be conducted against public gaming. Meanwhile, the good news for those working in the sector should be that of the “fall” of the current Executive government, because with it the government contract falls too, signed by the two political forces 14 months ago to start the current Legislature. A contract in which, as it is known, open war was declared against gaming. This is why a new government would mean a reset (albeit potential) of the political line to be followed. Even if the hypothesis of a new yellow-green executive government is still possible. But it would still be the result of a reorganization, from which, therefore, new ministers should also come out and, therefore, also the competences reassigned. And who knows if games can find another destination, compared to the current 5 stelle “management”. In his speech in the Senate yesterday, Matteo Salvini made it clear – although referring to the Tav and to the industry in general and not to the gaming one – that Italy needs to grow and produce and that a “government of no” can just hurting the country and its economy, blaming former government colleagues for closing down on so many initiatives and for an approach that appeared hostile to businesses. A political line that, if applied also to the gaming sector as to the rest of the industry, could prove to be less ideological and more oriented towards the search for concrete solutions.

The other possible hypothesis, however, remains that of an axis between Pd and 5 Stelle, above all after the step back announced by a cumbersome figure like te former premier Matteo Renzi. A majority that, besides being difficult to imagine, due to the various differences between the two sides, also represents the most technically hostile one to the public gaming, remembering that the real problems for the sector began with the Renzi government, to then fall just with the 5 Stelle. Although, it must be said, both political forces, during their mandate, had imagined (or at least announced) a reform of the sector’s reorganization. And who knows that this might be the right time to actually achieve it, perhaps even for mere cash purposes.

In the event of a new vote, on the other hand, there would certainly be a total reset of the current policies and of the government contract and the sure creation of a new and “real” majority. According to the polls circulating in recent weeks, the coalition destined to prevail would be the one of the center-right in its classic alliance, consisting of Forza Italia, Lega and Fratelli d’Italia, but with the difference that this time it could be precisely the Lega, perhaps with Salvini premier, to prevail A center-right government would probably be the most sensitive to business and the needs of the economy and, therefore, technically more inclined to consider the gaming industry simply as an industry. But it is also true that new hurried elections on the eve of the financial strategy would certainly not give space to set complex reforms, such as the one expected by the gaming, at least in the short term. With risk, indeed, of finding some surprises right during the drafting of the financial strategy. Even if the possible postponement of the VAT clauses (whose discussion could be postponed to April) could give greater serenity to the next Executive government, whatever it may be.

14 Aug 2019

Global Football 2019: the number of suspicious betting patterns has decreased from 397 to 377

Suspicious Betting Trends in Global Football 2019 Report released by Stats Perform Integrity and Starlizard Integrity Services.

Stats Perform Integrity and Starlizard Integrity Services released their second annual Suspicious Betting Trends in Global Football Report, completed in collaboration with TxOdds and aims to provide fellow stakeholders in the sports integrity community with a meaningful and informative overview of current trends in suspicious football betting.

The 2019 report was compiled with data from 62,250 football matches played in 2018, including domestic and international competitions across 115 countries and 6 continents. It compares the findings from the 2018 report and, once again, examines the geographical hotbeds of suspicious activity, breaks down suspicious matches by level and competition, and looks in detail at youth, international, friendly and women’s matches.

This year’s report is based on the review of nearly 14% more matches than in the previous year and uses the same methodology, the number of matches identified as having suspicious betting patterns has decreased from 397 to 377.

Youth matches continue to be an area of particular concern. Although this year’s report shows that the number of suspicious youth matches has declined from 62 matches seen in 2017 to 58 matches in 2018, they are still highly overrepresented in this year’s report: youth matches account for 5.6% of all matches analysed in this year’s report, but 15.4% of all suspicious matches identified.

Jake Marsh, Head of Integrity Stats Perform, said: “This report is intended to provide football and integrity stakeholders with a meaningful insight into matches with suspicious betting markets on a global scale. We believe that by shining a light on suspicious activity in a non-accusatory public forum we can elevate understanding of the latest trends and areas of concern to integrity stakeholders. The efforts of integrity stakeholders, sports governing bodies and law enforcement are amplified when working together towards a common goal. To this end, we share the results of our analysis with stakeholders on a non-commercial basis in order to assist their efforts in protecting the integrity of football.”

Affy Sheikh, Head of Starlizard Integrity Services, adds: “It is important that the football world remains diligent and alert to integrity threats at all levels of the game. In producing this report, a huge effort has been made and a vast amount of data analysed in order to provide sports and integrity stakeholders with detailed intelligence on suspicious betting patterns across many different competitions and countries.”

20 Jul 2019

IGBLive!: operators and experts, “In Italy a reform of the sector is needed”

Conference in Amsterdam at iGBLive! after a final stop to advertising

“Now we need a total reform of the gaming sector, perhaps from the government” to shed light on a sector where “much confusion” has been generated.
This is the invitation launched yesterday in Amsterdam from operators and games experts, just a few days after the final stop of gaming advertising in Italy, as provided for the dignity decree, strongly wanted by the Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio at the beginning of the legislature.
During the conference organized by Gioconews at the second edition of the “iGB Live!” sector fair, the operators asked again for transparency and regulation, following the ban on advertising, following a “brief, but highly articulated” regulation, as Francesco Gaziano, Cmo and Country Manager Italy of Sks365 explained. “The Government had announced with the Dignity decree a general reform of the sector, to be carried out by last February – the lawyer Rodolfo La Rosa, of BakerMcKenzie, pointed out – and even if nothing has been heard abour it, it is reasonable to expect that sooner or later this reform will actually be made. And who knows that it may not happen already in the coming months, perhaps even through the financial measures”.
“The scenario can still be changed – Alessio Crisantemi, director of Gioconews, explained -. However, we need to find suitable, sustainable and credible solutions. And, above all, change mentalities, with a view to greater responsibility. This, I believe, is the real challenge who the operators and the entire industry have to face”.