Italian iGaming reforms could breach EU laws, warns EGBA

Italian iGaming reforms could breach EU laws, warns EGBA

In a compelling display of concern, the European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA) has strongly criticized Italian government’s proposed online gambling reforms. Joining the chorus of dissent that includes apprehensive trade groups of Italy, the EGBA warned that the proposed online gambling reforms could potentially violate European laws.

The decree to reform the online gambling sector is currently under consideration by the Italian Council of Ministers, and it is characterized by a substantial licensing fee of €7 million (approx. US$7.67 million), a move that has been labeled as unwarranted & unprecedented by the EGBA and some other groups.

The EGBA emphasized that the proposed fee structure has exorbitant nature, and it is unjustifiably high when compared to the country’s previous online gambling license fees ranging from €200,000 to €2.5 million (approx. US$219,000 to $2.73 million).

EGBA Secretary General Maarten Haijer asserted that such a fee hikes, in combination with restrictive measures like a local advertising ban, could render Italy into an unattractive market for operators, hindering economic growth of the country at a time when it needs an economic boost.

Warning the government against the reforms, Haijer said, “This proposed fee hike will make Italy a closed shop for new market entrants and lead to an exodus of existing licensees. This also raises concerns on compliance with EU law."

Criticizing the proposed reforms, the association also argued that restrictions like ban on advertisements would stifle competition, impeding online gaming operators from effectively reaching their target audience. Advocating for a balanced regulatory framework, the EGBA emphasized on the need for regulation that could protect minors and vulnerable groups while allowing licensed operators to promote their services responsibly.

The EGBA issued a decisive call to action, urging the Italian Council of Ministers to reevaluate the proposed decree on online gambling regulations. Advocating for a fairer approach, the association, drawing upon its extensive experience in the European gambling market, expresses readiness to collaborate with Italian authorities. Emphasizing the importance of prioritizing market competitiveness, player protection, and compliance with EU law, the EGBA aims to contribute to the formulation of balanced and effective regulations. As Italy grapples with the ongoing debate surrounding online gambling rules, the EGBA's intervention amplifies the discourse, providing a substantial voice supported by its wealth of knowledge and expertise in the European gambling landscape.

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