The long wave of the pandemic

03 January 2023 - 12:58

Professor Marco Spallone takes stock of 2022 lived by the public gaming sector, dealing with structural changes and, again, with a regulatory reorganization that always seems to recede over the horizon.

Written by Anna Maria Rengo

A year behind us, and which ends with an evaluation in light and shade for the gaming sector as usual, given that some of its main expectations for 2022, i.e. the regulatory reorganization of the offer, has once again been disappointed and postponed to a legislature, the new one, which for the moment is dealing with something completely different, as indeed often happens in the months in which the priority is the budget law. However, surely they have been "worst" years, even very recent ones, and that have left a "structural" mark. Let's take stock of all this with Marco Spallone, full professor of economics of financial intermediaries at the Pescara's "Gabriele D'Annunzio" University.

After two years of pandemic and repeated lockdowns, the gaming sector has been able to work without business interruptions in the year that is ending. Do you think that we are back to normal activity levels and that the economic/employment damages of the closures have been repaired?

“The sector has certainly recovered, but the transformations that took place during the pandemic are meant to stay. I am referring in particular to the greater importance taken on by online gaming which, if it could be neutral from an economic point of view in the long run, will certainly have an impact on employment".

What are the main specific challenges that the legal sector still faces and how do you expect the new Government and Parliament to act?

“The sector is always struggling with the need to reorganize the offer, which cannot be separated from the sharing of solutions at national and local level. Furthermore, the protection of legal gaming must remain a priority, because attempts to circumvent the rules and obligations to which the concessionaires are subject always remain in the background, taking on different forms from time to time".

What are the macroeconomic challenges that the sector faces, like others, and that could put its business at risk?

“At the macroeconomic level we are experiencing a difficult moment and the need to find resources to finance the Government's economic policies can lead to interventions on gaming taxation. The recent proposal (in the 2023 Budget Law) to raise the tax on winnings to 25 percent (although not confirmed) seems to go in that direction. It seems to me that we must be careful not to damage the stability of the tax revenue guaranteed by the gaming sector with interventions dictated by current needs and not included in an organic reform plan".

In view of a possible reorganization, in your opinion, would it be appropriate to provide for a co-participation of the local authorities in the tax revenue from gaming?

“I think it is fundamental. If the social costs of gaming at a local level could be compensated with a part of the income that the sector generates, there would be a convergence of interests between the tax authorities, local authorities and concessionaires, able to direct reorganization interventions in the right direction".

In the previous legislature, the parliamentary commission of inquiry into illegal gaming and the malfunction of public gaming was established in the Senate. Do you hope that it will be re-established and what could be the contribution it could make in promoting the legal industry and fighting the illegal one?

“I think it was a good initiative. The commission should have the role of bringing all the interested parties around a table in order to arrive at designing an overall reform of the sector, able to protect tax requirements, savings and consumer health and, finally, assigning the right role and due importance to the concessionaires, who also operate in the interest of the State, it should not be forgotten”.

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