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Online Gaming in Italy

Authored by - Sbordoni & Partners (Last updated June 2024)



Italy Online Gaming Overview

In the Italian legal system, the distinction between GAMING  (i.e., competition for recreational purposes which ends with the victory of individuals or groups according to specific rules and having as object the stake, i.e. the sum of money or other goods that a participant owes to the based on the outcome of the game) and BETTING (i.e. the promise of a sum of money or other good to whoever predicts exactly a future and uncertain event) has only a didactic and not a juridical relevance, often converging the one figure in the other, when the forecast formulated for betting regards, as an event, the victorious outcome of a game.

In Italy gambling, defined by Article 721 Italian Penal Code (I.C.P.) “those games in which the purpose of profit occurs and the win or loss is entirely or almost entirely random“, is prohibited in public places and also in private places, according to the table of prohibited games, unless it is held in authorized gaming houses (casinos) and on cruise ships sailing outside the Mediterranean basin or is authorized by the State.

In fact, Article 718 I.C.P. punishes with arrest no less than three months and a fine no less than EUR 260 “whoever, in a public place or place open to the public, or in private circles of any kind, holds a gambling or facilitates it” (doubled penalty, pursuant to Article 719 of the Criminal Code if the offender has set up or kept a gambling house, if the fact is committed in a public establishment, if large sums are wagered and if there are minors among the participants), art. 720 punishes with the arrest of up to six months or with a fine of up to EUR 516 “Anyone who, in a public place or open to the public or in private circles… is caught red-handed while taking part in gambling“, and Art. 723 P.C.punishes with a fine from EUR 5 to EUR 103 “Anyone, authorized to keep gaming halls, allows non-gambling games which are in any case prohibited by the Authority (see below art. 110 TULPS)“.

The Italian Civil Code distinguishes between merely lawful betting (i.e.: poker, roulette, etc.), for which there’s no legal action for the payment of a gambling or betting debt, even if the gambling or betting is not prohibited unless the debtor proves that he has suffered fraud or he’s incapable (art. 1933) and protected betting, such as horse racing and sports betting (art. 1934) and authorized lotteries (art. 1935), for whose there’s the aforementioned legal action.

The Consolidated Law on Public Safety (TULPS, Royal Decree No. 773/1931, and subsequent amendments) also states rules regarding the licenses for gaming and betting (articles 86 and 88) and entertainment machines (article 110).

The Legislative Decree no. 496/1948 and the Presidential Decree (DPR) no. 581/1951, allowed the use of concessionaires other than the State for the organization and exercise of gaming activities.

Consequently, until the late 1990s, only Totocalcio, Horse Racing betting, Lotto and some national Lotteries were legal in Italy. The turning point was the 1998 World Cup in France, when betting agencies were able to offer odds on certain matches in the tournament. Since then, the culture of betting in our country has changed radically.

Article 3 paragraph 230 law n. 549/1995 (Financial Law 1996), in fact, established that “the organization and exercise of tote and fixed-odds bets reserved to CONI on sports competitions organised or carried out under its control can be entrusted in concession to single or companies operators that offer adequate guarantees” and attributed to the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) the power to issue the relative regulations / decrees

With legislative decree n. 300/1999, all the responsibilities in the gaming and betting sector have been assigned to the Autonomous Administration of State Monopolies (AAMS, established in 1927, which had already acquired the national lotteries in 1988 and in 1994 the Lotto game and the instant lotteries), subsequently incorporated by Law no. 135/2012 in the Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM), a public body with legal personality with wide financial, organisational and accounting autonomy.

With Law n. 133/1999 (article 16), Law n. 311/2004 and the subsequent D.M. no. 111/2006 authorized Concessionaires authorized by the AAMS / ADM (on whose site you can find the updated list) the collection of totalizer and fixed-odds betting on sporting events other than horse racing and on non-sporting events.

The Ministerial Decree (D.M.) n.156/2001 attributed to the Ministry of Finance through AAMS (then  ADM) the competence to authorize the licensee to collect  betting by telephone or telematics (online).

Law No. 266/2005 (Financial Law 2006) gave the Customs and Monopolies Agency (A.D.M.) the power to also regulate the Online gaming sector with the consequent prohibition for the unauthorized sites.

The “Bersani Decree” (Law Decree No. 223/2006 converted into Law No. 248/2006) opened the horse racing and sports betting market to all national and foreign operators having certain reliability requirements and introduced the SKILL GAMES (art. 38 paragraph 1 letter B) defined as “remote games with cash winnings, in which the result depends, to a greater extent than the random element, on the skill of the players” (i.e.: Draughts, Chess, Bridge, Poker, Texas Hold’Em, etc), which can only be played on online sites managed by concessionaires authorized by A.D.M.

The Anti-Money Laundering (AML) legislation was introduced by Legislative Decree no. 231/2007 (amended by Legislative Decree 151/2009, by Legislative Decree no. 90/2017 implementing of EU Directive n. 2015/849 and by Legislative Decree 125/2019 implementing the Fifth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive no. 2018/843) and concerns all land-based and online gaming and betting operators.

Law no. 88/2009 contains provisions on online gaming and betting:

  • Fixed odds and totalizator on sports betting events including simulated ones, on horse racing and other events
  • Competitions with sports and horse racing predictions
  • National horse racing games
  • Skill games
  • Fixed odds betting with direct interaction between players
  • Online Bingo
  • National totaliser number games
  • Instant and deferred lotteries

Law no. 158/2012 (“Balduzzi Decree”) contains rules against gambling addiction.

The Ministerial Decree no. 47/2013 regulated remote betting at fixed odds with direct interaction between players (so-called Betting Exchange).

Law Decree n. 87/2018 (“Dignity Decree”) increased the tax on withdrawals from slot machines (AWP) and VLT and banned the advertising of gambling activities, except for some cases.

Decree n.145/2022 issued on 1 August 2022 by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (M.E.F.) and entered into force on 28.10.2022, contains news on the regulation of fixed-odds bets on sporting events other than horse racing and on non-horse racing athletes (see below).

Market size
In 2023 the gaming market in Italy recorded a total collection of 147.7 billion euros. 127 billion of these is the amount of winnings, while the actual spending (collected minus winnings) was 20.7 billion euros, a figure substantially equal to 2022, when the spending was 20.4 billion euros.

In 2023 the online sector represented 21% of total spending, constantly growing compared to 9% in 2019, with a total volume of 4.3 billion euros (more than doubled compared to 2019). Although the retail sector is recovering compared to the pandemic period, a trend of stagnation is observed, with a decrease of 7.7% compared to 2019. Casino games are among the sectors driving online growth, representing in 2023 55 percent of online spending (around 2.4 billion euros) and sports betting (around 1.5 billion euros), which quadrupled and doubled respectively in the period.

However, data is growing as regards the Treasury. Thanks to legal gaming, in fact, a total of 11.6 billion euros ended up in the state coffers, a value up by +3.6% compared to the previous 12 months. The AWP and VLT market continues to be the largest contributor to the Treasury with 60% of tax revenues (around 5.5 billion euros). 27% instead came thanks to Lotto, SuperEnalotto, Scratch Cards and Lotteries (around 3.4 billion euros). 5.6% of payments to the Treasury came from betting, while 7.3% can be attributed to other games.

As regards the betting sector, the overall expenditure in 2023 in Italy was 3.1 billion euros, while the contribution to the Treasury was 684 million euros. From other games, 827 million arrived in the Treasury coffers, while spending was 2.5 billion

2023 ended with spending on agency sports betting of 929.8 million euros, a value substantially stable compared to the 922.5 million euros in 2022 given the slight growth of 0.8%.

The increase in collections is more evident, going from 4.9 billion in 2022 to 5.1 billion in the twelve months just ended. The growth in this case was therefore +3.9%.

Lottomatica leads the spending ranking, with a market share of 33.1%. Snaitech and Eurobet were also on the podium with 19.3% and 16.2% of market share respectively. The two companies also grew in terms of spending. Snaitech recorded an increase of +10.3%, while Eurobet of +15.1%. Sisal (+6.8%), Planetwin365 (+4.5%), Betaland (+7.1%), Admiral Sport (+9.2%) also grew.

Competitive landscape
The 5 most popular Slot and Casino sites in 2021 in Italy, according to a comparative ranking, are (source:

  • 888 Casino – 125% up to EUR 500, Wagering, Withdrawal Times 2-5 Business Days, Online Slots, Jackpot Slots, Slots Providers
  • Eurobet – Casino bonus up to EUR 1,000 + 30 free spins and EUR 5 no deposit
  • Star Casino – Cashback Bonus up to EUR 200 + Unlimited Free Spins + 50 Free Spins No Deposit
  • SNAI – 100% bonus up to EUR 1,000 + EUR 10 free
  • Bwin – Welcome Offer 100% up to EUR 200 + 50 Free Spins

The 5 most popular Betting sites in 2021 in Italy, according to a comparative ranking, are (source:

  • SNAI – EUR 5 free + 100% up to EUR 300
  • William Hill – EUR 35 immediately + EUR 200 on the first deposit
  • Novibet – 50% of the first deposit up to a maximum of EUR 20
  • Eurobet – EUR 5 deposit bonus + bonus up to EUR 100
  • Bwin – EUR 10 on the first bet + 30 Free Spins

As per the aforementioned legislation, the following games are considered LEGAL:

  1. Number games with fixed odds
  2. Lotto
  3. Numerical totaliser games (Superenalotto, Eurojackpot, Win for Life)
  4. Sports-based gaming/betting (Totocalcio, Totip, Totogol).
  5. Fixed odds bets
  6. Horse racing bets
  7. Bets for non-sporting events (example: music festivals such as Sanremo and Eurovision Song Contest, reality shows, etc)
  8. Entertainment machines pursuant to with cash prizes (AWP / Newslot and VLT (art. 110 paragraph 6 TULPS)
  9. Amusement machines without cash prizes (art. 110 paragraph 7 TULPS)
  10. Games of skill such as backgammon, dominoes, or naval battles (provided they are remote)
  11. Fixed-odds games such as casino games (for example: roulette, with the limitation of the fixed and remote odds, poker, etc)
  12. Card games organised in a form other than a tournament such as poker cash (provided at a distance)
  13. Traditional and instant lotteries
  14. Bingo, both in the remote and hall versions

Furthermore, local events such as lotteries, peaches and charity stand and bingo are legal, if promoted by non-profit organizations, associations, non-profit committees, ONLUS, provided they are necessary for their livelihood or by political parties within the context of local events and raffles are also allowed in the family and private sphere, for recreational purposes. Despite the obvious similarities, these types of games with cash prizes do not constitute gambling according to Italian law and are simply defined as games with cash prizes.

The Register of Authorized Operators (RIES, set up with Law No. 266/2005) contains the list of owners, possessors and holders of the devices and terminals referred to in article 110, paragraph 6, letter a (AWP) and letter b (VLT) T.U.L.P.S. (section A), of the Concessionaires for the management of the telematic network of the entertainment devices and terminals indicated above (section B) and of the other operators Subjects who carry out, on the basis of continuous contractual relationships with the subjects referred to in the same sections, related activities to the aforementioned appliances (section C).

Carry out activities connected with cash-winning entertainment machines (art. 110 par. 6 TULPS). This Register is arranged and renewed annually by the Customs and Monopoly Agency (A.D.M.), subject to verification of the applicants’ possession of specific requirements and conditions, including financial and the payment of a tax of EUR 150 in addition to the stamp duty of EUR 16.

The payment methods preferred by the Italians are Credit and debit cards VISA Mastercard, PayPal, Neteller, Skrill, Paysafecard, Bank Transfer, PostePay and ecoPayz. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, on the other hand, are used as an alternative method by very few operators.

Top Key Attractions and Challenges
In Italy almost all products are licensed, and the market is large and active, however marketing restrictions are severe. Best to refer to Marketing section in terms of commercial feasibility etc.

Licensing & Regulation

Well-regulated / Unregulated (Open)

Italy Online Gaming Licensing & Regulation

Licence Triggers
In Italy, if someone intends to carry out an activity in the “gaming and betting” sector he must obtain, on the one hand, the relative CONCESSION from A.D.M. and, on the other, the “LICENSE” of the qualified Authorities.

To acquire a CONCESSION, it is necessary to apply for a public tender called by A.D.M. The requirements for...

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Irregular / Mixed impact

Italy Online Gaming Enforcement

Regulating bodies
As mentioned above, with legislative decree n. 300/1999, all powers in the gaming and betting sector were attributed to the Autonomous Administration of State Monopolies (AAMS, established in 1927), after it had already acquired the national lotteries in 1988 and the Lotto game and instant lotteries in 1994. The law n. 135/2012 provided for, starting from 1...

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Italy Online Gaming Marketing

Gambling advertising and sponsorship are prohibited in Italy.

The first intervention on the matter was carried out with the Law Decree no. 158/2012 so-called “Balduzzi Decree” (converted into law n. 189/2012), which introduces in particular the prohibition of advertising messages for games with cash prizes on television and radio broadcasts as well as during theatre or cinema performances not prohibited...

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Italy Online Gaming Fees

Application fees
120 new online licences for several games of chance put up for tender in January 2018. This was the last tender for licences to be released. 67 operators were granted licences subject to a one-off participation fee of EUR 200,000.

The concessionaires, resellers, and operators of machines with CASH PRIZES (AWP and VLT, see above) must provide...

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Italy Online Gaming Taxes

Licence taxes
The regulation of the tax levy in the gaming sector provides for different methods and rates according to the various types of gaming.

The tax revenues from the sector are both non-tax and tax related. In the first case, the tax levy coincides with the residual tax margin which is obtained by subtracting the winnings paid to...

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Future Outlook


Italy Online Gaming Future Outlook

Legislative Decree n. 41/2024 containing “provisions regarding the reorganisation of the gaming sector starting from remote gaming” in implementation of the Delegation to the Government for tax reform referred to in Article 15 of the Law n. 111/2023, was approved on March 2nd 2024.

This Decree aims to reorganise and update the legislation regarding public games, i.e. those remote and...

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Legal Expert

Sbordoni & Partners

Office locations Italy (Rome)

The Law Firm Sbordoni & Partners offers legal, judicial and extrajudicial assistance in all areas of civil, administrative, insurance, commercial, corporate and IT law, for individual clients and national and international companies and for all sectors of legal advice business guaranteeing customers precise, immediate and exact answers.

The Law Firm, founded by Stefano Sbordoni, has specific expertise in the field of public gaming law and betting, offering assistance to Italian and foreign operators for the adaptation of business strategies to the regulatory and regulatory framework of the current legislation in Italy.

The Law Firm professionals dedicate themselves with specialized skills to the resolution of operational issues in the Gaming & Gambling sector, providing customers with the necessary operational guidelines in compliance with current legislation, actively collaborating with the institutional bodies for the development of the regulation of public gaming. The firm, among other things, is a legal partner of the Italian eSports Observatory.

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