The Italian Government is expected to outline on the 20th of February 2015 a new package of gambling rules that might considerably change the market.
After several months of discussions on how gambling rules should be reframed in Italy in order to limit distortions, the D-day is upcoming. We have already reviewed a number of different versions of such new rules and assessed in different manners their potential impact, but this is still a work in progress.
The main areas that will be covered by the new gambling package relate to the taxation, advertising and the places where gambling machines can be located and where gaming halls can be run.
Indeed, this last issue has created a considerable headache to operators in the last years with each municipality or region adopting its own local laws restricting the locations and the time of operation gaming halls. This should now come to an end, but no solution comes without any cost.
The matter is whether new restrictions will be introduced on the number of gambling machines that can be placed in gaming halls and on the types of locations where they can be installed. Indeed, at the moment the so called AWPs can be located also in bars, restaurants and hotels, while a regulatory change obliging licensees to place them only in locations dedicated to gambling activities (e.g. gaming halls, bingo halls, betting shops etc.) might have a negative effect on the AWP business.
On the contrary, the restrictions on gambling advertising that initially appeared to be very stringent are likely to end up into restrictions that are not so different from the gambling advertising rules that are currently in place.
Finally, the issue is whether such changes will be immediately effective will refer to subsequent changes to be introduced by means of a primary law which might trigger further delays in its coming into force which might also delay the potential benefits for operators of the new regime.