Total betting increases in Italy, and new laws should trigger greater online gambling revenues

Online poker in Italy has gone up from €188 million in 2008 to €200 million in 2009, part of a rise in total betting of 9.5 percent in the first five months of the year to €22 billion, state gambling monopoly AAMS said.

The obvious interest in gambling online in Italy has led to the government promoting a direction that will help the remote gambling industry to gain more ground, according to a recent report in New laws that will extend licensing agreements for casino gambling, poker, betting services and wagering on virtual events are being formulated. State regulator Francesco Rodano said the goal is to submit the proposed laws to the European Commission within the next few months in hopes of having the new laws in place by the end of this year.

Rodano said the tax levels for the new online games would be set at 20 percent of gross profits, significantly higher than the current 4.5 percent tax on gross gaming revenues on sports betting.

Italy now licenses online poker tournament games and fixed-odds sports betting. Online gambling is restricted to “internal” networks.

However, operators seeing an opportunity to expand have begun to lobby the government to open the closed system to international operators.