Italy was expected to launch a new tender by July 31, 2021 under its proposed budget law and ask interested betting operators to apply for a new betting license. However, the Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM) in the country has delayed the proposed tender and extended the sports betting concession licenses till Oct 31, 2021.
The government under Giuseppe Conte delayed the ruling of the betting concession and renewing the licenses of betting operators in 2020 due to the pandemic. The government decided to postpone the ruling to the end of June 2021. Betting operators got an extension in 2020 under the Cura Decree which led to the government offering financial assistance to multiple businesses during the pandemic.
The ADM had to roll out new betting license requirements before the end of June 2021 but decided to extend the betting concessions as Italy and the gaming market is still recovering from the lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Oct 31 extension is expected to give both the gaming regulator and betting operators more time to prepare for their license renewals.
The ADM is providing a 3 month extension period to operators once the Cura Decree ends on July 31, which effectively means they have time till Oct 31. The ADM has its work cut out as it has to go through the licenses of over 10,000 venues in the country that belong to a number of well-known betting brands including Eurobet, Snaitech, Sisal, Lottomattica and SKS365.
Can Italy Proceed With New Betting Regulations?
While the ADM has used the pandemic as the main reason for its betting license concession extension, there are other reasons as well. The new Budget Law has made significant changes to the betting license application process. The earlier betting tender saw a total of 120 betting licenses up for grabs with each license costing €200,000 for a four year period.
Italy has now decided to limit the number of betting licenses to 40 and will charge a whopping €2.5 million for each license. This will create massive competition in the betting industry as there are over 80 operators in the market.
The European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA) has come down hard on the proposed Budget Law and has sent a letter to the European Commission (EC) claiming unfair practices by the ADM. We should know by the end of October if the EC objects to the proposed Budget Law.