The end of April was the deadline for the payment of the € 200M contribution by gaming machine licensees in Italy, but it is unclear who borne such cost between the supply chain and the licensees.
The current scenario of the gaming contribution
As covered in this blog post, the Italian budget law had prescribed an additional € 500 million contribution for AWP and video lottery licensees, whose first € 200 million had to be paid by the end of April, also providing that the entities of the supply chain had to contribute to that.
I have already discussed about the disputes that had arosen as a consequence of the coming into force of this provision. Such disputes related not only on whether or not the amount was due at all, but also on which entities had to bear such cost. If the cost had to be borne by the “entities of the supply chain“, the question is also who are these entities and under which contractual conditions can they be obliged to pay such amount?
Entities running gaming halls do not need to hold a gaming license in Italy as this is an obligation only for the 13 entities managing the network connecting the AWPs and the VLTs to the servers of the regulator. Therefore, the issue is also on whether the gaming regulator has jurisdiction on such entities and can impose obligations and sanctions against them.
Who paid for the € 200 million?
According to the press, after considerable negotiations during the last weeks, the licensees paid the € 200 million due, but they were able to collect only around 50% of such amount from their supply chain, while the remaining amount was “anticipated” by the licensees themselves. The Government committed to issue shortly a new law decree clarifying the scenario and the role of the involved entities. And a further option is that the regulator will cash in the cash deposit of 0.5% of the turnover that each licensee established with AAMS whose value exceeds € 200 million.
The future of the sector is quite unclear. The Government is willing to obtain such amount, but the licensees want to shift the whole cost to their supply chain that in turn deems such contribution unacceptable and not financially viable. At the same time, the hearing on the merits of the case relating to such contribution will take place in July, but the Government might amend the provisions of the Budget Law covering such contribution.