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Oh No Italia: New Tax Hikes Kicking in 2019 Are the Latest Source of Operator DiscontentPublished January 2, 2019 by Lee R
The list of taxes and restrictions against local operators in Italy is dizzying at this point.
Gambling operators are vehemently objecting to government efforts to raise gambing taxes and reduce land-based slots payouts to customers.
Unfavorable Amendment Proposed
Discovered in the new Parliamentary “maxi'amendment” to the budget, the changes awaiting final approval from the full Parliament are already real enough to raise a whole new round of objections from operator stakeholders.
The most significant recommendation the online casino tax hike from 20% to 25% as January 1. While the government believes the hike will generate an additional €50m in annual revenue for the state, with operators feeling this will take too much out of their pockets.
Other unsightly changes include increased taxation of online sports betting revenue from 22% to 24%, with land-based betting operators (excluding horse betting, natch) looking at a two-point hike to 20%.
Virtual betting will likely rise 2 points to 22% a well, with those hikes expected to cost operators an additional €30m annually.
Operators are already feeling being piled on after just adapting to a previous Parliamentary plan to increase taxes on video lottery terminals (VLTs) and amusement with prizes (AWP) machines by 0.25% on September 1 and a further 0.25% on May 1, 2019, with both categories also facing a 1.25% hike on January 1st. The additional taxes continue.
Government Policy Against
The government is open about a policy of closing shortfalls with gambling revenue adjustments with Italy Minister of Economy Giovanni Tria´s telling RAI that “we found other resources with taxes on gambling and we closed the matter.”
Local Operator Objections
Italy gaming association Logico Moreno Marasco expressing his “utmost concern” to local affiliate Agimeg that the government will drive local gamblers to seek out better value from unlicenced international operators.
Marasco pointed to Spain´s example of a five-point reduction in online gambling tax rate as the proper approach while suggesting that the government only truly seeks to “reduce the number of operators” in Italy’s regulated market.
Government Voices Against
An equally alarmed Italy public gaming association President Geronimo Cardia further urged the government to conduct an in-depth analysis of the impact the proposed tax changes would have on local operators, who are also facing absolute bans on advertising and sponsorships that kick in on January 1.
With the dizzying array of restrictions and tax hikes, it looks like the operators seeking to continue in Italy are facing a spaghetti of restrictions to protect profits in that market, which threatens to cost the government more in the end if a significant amount of operators pull out or are discouraged from future entry.