Italy in the News — Weekly Round-up for December 28, 2018

Italian Government Pushing Ahead With War On Gambling

Tax hikes announced

Italy‘s coalition government gave further confirmation of its intent to take a tough stance against gambling Wednesday when it made proposed tax hikes public in a budget document amendment that has still to be passed by the Italian parliament.

The proposal includes a hike to online casino operator taxes of 5 percent to 25 percent of GGR from January 1 next year, creating an additional Euro 50 million for state coffers.

InfoPowa readers will recall that operators are also faced with bans on advertising from January next year, although a similar ban on sports sponsorships by gambling companies has been set back to June 30 for firms that have existing contracts.

Other tax increases are heading for the sports betting sector, where 24 percent of revenue will be taxed (up 2 percent from those currently levied) Land-based operators can expect a similar 2 percent rise in tax to 20 percent, along with virtual betting, up 2 percent to 22 percent.

Previously announced taxes on VLT and AWP machines have been replaces with higher numbers to an across the board 1,25 percent tax, which will hit around the same time as government-enforced minimum pay-outs to punters of 69 percent for AWPs and 84.5 percent for VLTs.

Numerous industry experts, operators and trade bodies have warned the government of the consequences of imposing too heavy a cost on a thus far successful gambling industry, cautioning that it will steer punters away to more competitive unlicensed operators.

They have pointed to tax reductions in Spain and rates elsewhere, and recommended that government carry out a proper impact study before implementing the tax elements, but this has apparently fallen on deaf ears

Playtech Lowers 2019 Adjusted EBITDA

On the back of Italian tax amendments

In an industry update, Playtech plc lowered its 2019 adjusted EBITDA estimate by around Euro 20 – 25 million due to an increase in Italian taxation across various types of gambling activities, saying the legislation is expected to receive final approvals, including from the Chamber of Deputies, before the end of 2018 and will take effect from January 1, 2018.

“The expected impact from this legislation is in addition to the previously announced impact from the 2018 Dignity Decree,” the statement reads.

The 2018 Dignity Decree is a legislative act brought into force by the latest Italian government which replaces the previous regime’s “Jobs Act”. The decree covers aspects of labour relations including temporary contracts.