European Commission Approves New Italian Internet Bingo Regulations

Back in August the Italian online gambling regulatory body AAMS announced that it had overhauled the country’s internet bingo policies which will give operators the option to offer other games on their websites. The AAMS submitted the new set of guidelines to the European Commission. At the time most expected the European Commission to approve the new rules which they did. The new rules will contribute to the liberalization of the Italian online gambling market and will give internet bingo operators more possibilities.

The new regulations will allow bingo operators with ‘ dot.it ‘ domains to offer players a wider range of games. The regulations set a minimum ticket price of €1c a game, up to a maximum of €10. Leading Italian gaming lawyer Giulio Coraggio said that the new ticket prices  “might meet the needs of bingo operators which prefer a ‘soft game’ approach.” Italian regulator AAMS and the Italian government hope that giving licensed operators more flexibility will help to stem dramatic decline in Italy’s internet bingo market. In June online bingo revenues fell 34% year-on-ear to €3 million.

In addition to more games Internet bingo operators in Italy will also be able to offer players new types of bingo games and a variety of online bingo jackpots. The changes are scheduled to take place on December 3rd and most expect that the online bingo market will get a boost from the introduction of slots. At most internet bingo sites side games generate from between 40% and 60% of a bingo operator’s overall revenues. Remote bingo games along with sports betting will still be subject to high tax rates. High taxes make it difficult for Italian bingo operators to compete with offshore bingo sites.

Operators will continue to pay an 11% tax and a 1% Sogei fee. Bingo operators must also return 70% of wagers back to players. Land based bingo halls in Italy are subject to a 20% turnover tax, 3.8% Sogei fee and 58% payback ratio. The European Commission has given Italy the go ahead to implement the new changes. As expected taxes and fees for internet bingo operators will remain the same. It remains to be seen whether the new changes will revive the flagging Italian internet bingo market.