Italy’s Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM) has confirmed that sports betting concessions will be extended until 31 October.
The decision was authorised following an ‘in-depth assessment’ taken by the Ministry of the Economy to ‘apply a reprieve’ on betting licences that were due to expire at the end of June.
Last year, at the peak of Italy’s COVID-19 outbreak, the former Giuseppe Conte government postponed the ADM from undertaking any action on business concessions delaying the authorisation of licensing renewals until 2021.
The reprieve on concessions was imposed as a condition of the government’s ‘Cura Decree’ (care decree) which deployed the first economic relief measures for Italian businesses during the height of the pandemic.
Moving the issue to 2021, the ADM has confirmed that it will allow for betting shop and bingo hall concessions to be extended for a further 90 days following the termination date of the Cura Decree measures – set for 31 July.
The ADM has begun to review the concessions for a reported 10,000 retail venues/outlets, impacting the franchisees of Snaitech, Lottomattica, Sisal, SKS365 and Eurobet.
The agency’s concession renewals have taken heightened importance, following the shake-up of Italian gambling under lockdown, in which the Blackstone funded Gamenet Group has acquired the Lottomattica’s B2C Scommesse (sports betting) and Videolot Rete gaming machine units.
Further developments, see Italian media report that faced with a tight schedule the ADM may choose to delay or postpone the launch of its new tender for online gambling licence renewals.
Italy’s Budget Law had stated that the tender be launched by the end of June 2021, to secure Italian gambling its licensed operators from 2023 onwards.
The tender has proved controversial as the Italian government has pressed forward with a ‘draft measure’ to reduce Italy’s online gambling marketplace to 40 licensed concessions – halving its current 82 player market field size.
The matter has been directed to the European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA) which duly notified the European Commission to demand that the ADM explain its reasons to want to drastically reduce Italy’s licensing make-up.
According to a statement released to Agipronews by Claudio Durigon, Italy’s Treasury Undersecretary, the Government is evaluating how the pandemic has impacted the foundations of the gambling sector.
“Italian budget law had provided for the award of only 40 licenses with a minimum bidding price of €2.5mln, even if currently there are 82 operational concessionaires,” Durigon remarked.
“In the previous tender, the number of awarded licenses was much higher (120) and the price for the license was €200,000 for a 4-year license.”