30 November 2021 - 18:04

Written by Editorial Board

Ministry of Economy and Finance's technicians are working on the gaming amendment to the Budget law for 2022 Extension upon payment for (all) expiring concessions and extension of the license number for online gaming. These are some of the points on which the next financial budget, still being defined, should intervene.

The amendments to the Budget Committee in the Senate will be presented by November the 29th, with the first preview on horse racing that has already been disclosed. But the greatest expectation is on what the speakers will present. And, above all, on what the Government will want and will be able to do, in the field of gaming, by intervening above all on the most difficult issue, with an amendment that is supposed to be presented in the Senate: the extension of the existing gaming concessions, an issue that is closely linked to the announcement of the tender notices and, of course, also to the reorganization of the gaming offer, topics on which the Undersecretary for the Economy with responsibility for gaming, Federico Freni, has focused several times, both in a hearing in the parliamentary committee of inquiry on gaming and in several public meetings. Underlining, on the one hand, the need to extend the existing concessions, with all the difficulties associated with providing them longer than a year, on the other hand, the need to bring to Parliament a draft law in the field of gaming, as soon as possible, as it is by the end of the year. In this context, among the hypotheses being examined by the ministry, there is first of all the announcement of the tender notices by September, the 15th, 2022: a date that applies to slots, Vlts and online gaming too. As regards online gaming, it should be noted that the tender notice that will be issued no longer provides 40 concessions, but 100, an increase in the number strongly desired also by the general director of the Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli Marcello Minenna, so as to allow the Italian market to remain competitive. However, they are 20 less than the 120, the maximum number currently expected. The starting price will be no less than €1 million for each right, compared to €2.5 million that had been expected by the budget law for 2020. Here are the numbers that will be in the tender notice for "physical" machines: 200 thousand rights for slots, to be placed in betting and bingo halls too; 50 thousand rights for Vlts, 35.000 rights for slots to be placed in bars and tobacconists, 2,500 rights for rooms where the paragraph 6 devices will be placed. In all these cases, the concessions will last nine years, not renewable. EXTENSION UPON PAYMENT - The amendment under examination by the ministry also aims at overcoming the current disagreement regarding the loss of concessions that have reached their natural expiry without a tender notice is launched, also providing that the concessions in force for slots and Vlts are extended until the date of the signing of the new concessions, under payment, starting from April, the 1st, 2022, and the same applies to online gaming concessions, but with a payment of €365 per game, which starts from January, the 1st, 2023. BETTING NEWS - By September, the 15th, next year, at least according to the hypothesis that is being studied, the Agenzia delle Dogane e dei monopoli will also launch a tender notice for the collection of bets, providing for an income of at least €410 million. Also in this case, it is necessary to extend the concessions in force (actually expired on June, the 30th, 2016) until the award of the new ones and under payment. BINGO - The government's amendment instead aims to bring forward the tender notice for bingo game concessions, set by the 2021 Budget Law on March, the 31st, 2023. The aim is to adjust it with the other tender notices. MEASURES ON HORSE RACING - Mef is also thinking about supporting the horse racing sector, eliminating the current difference in treatment within the betting sector and adjusting the taxation of fixed-odds bets on horse racing with that of sports (20 percent of expenditure for the physical channel and 24 percent for the online channel) and virtual (22 percent of the expenditure for both channels) betting. This would encourage the concessionaires to promote the product and facilitate the transition to the authorized market by players, currently attracted by the unauthorized offer of offshore websites.

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