Prior to 2006, the gambling laws in Italy were among the most restrictive in all of Europe. While the laws were designed to distinguish between what were considered games of chance and games of skill, the fact remained that gambling in public venues and private clubs was essentially illegal. In 2006, a series of amendments were passed that allowed European Union (EU) operators to offer gambling in brick and mortar facilities. It also provided means for the AAMS (Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato – Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies) to legislate games of skill and betting exchanges. T&C's apply to all bonus offers on this site. Click for a list of all jurisdictions.
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2010 Online Gambling Laws
What the 2006 amendments didn't do was release the government's grip on online gaming. It was still illegal for online casinos and sports books to offer services to players living in Italy. All of that changed in 2010 when the Italian government found itself under siege from the EU for not allowing operators from member countries to operate within Italy's boundaries. By 2009, the pressure reached critical mass as the EU was threatening heavy fines due to several commerce violations. The Italian government finally relented and established new laws that permitted online casino operators located in EU member countries access to players located in Italy.
The Role of the AAMS
After the new laws were passed, the government made the AAMS Italy's official licensing body for online casinos. In that role, the AAMS devised a series of rules and regulations that had to be followed by online casinos that wanted to offer services in Italy. Some of those regulations, but not limited to, were that licenses would cover casino gambling, horse racing, sports betting, poker and bingo. The owner/operator is required to have a physical office facility within the boundaries of an EU member country. In addition to that they are also required to pay an administrative fee to the AAMS and have their casino games tested and audited on a regular basis. Moreover, the online casino is required to have a certain level of annual revenue and capital resources, while the number of total available licenses is restricted to a total of 200.
The Effects of the New Laws
While the passage of these laws has certainly benefited a select group of online casinos, it has more importantly increased gambling tax revenues for both Italy and the EU. The AAMS has been able to refocus their activities on compliance issues while the need to combat black market sites has greatly diminished. It has also opened the door for online casino industry proprietors to develop sites, games and products that are specifically designed for Italian gamblers. Since the implementation of these new laws, the AAMS is working closely with other EU based regulatory jurisdictions to find better ways to regulate the industry and ultimately offer players optimum protection against rogue activities from illegal online casinos. At the end of the day, the real winners are the players, who can now play on safe and regulated sites.
Click to visit Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli official website.
By Denise Marie