The increase of the gaming taxes provided by the recently approved Italian law opens a number of questions on their impact on the market.Usually the end of the year is the most stressful time for gaming operators since the Italian Budget Law is approved and it provided sometime in the past changes for the gambling sector. This year no surprise occurred during the Christmas period, but now the Government has adopted a new measure that might considerably impact the sector.
The change introduced to Italian gaming taxes
According to the Law Decree just published on the Italian Official Gazette,
- the gaming taxes for the Comma 6A machines (NewSlots) are increased of 1.5% to 19% of the turnover, while those applicable to the video lotteries (VLTs) are increased of 1% to 6% of the turnover and
- the winning tax due by players for VLT winnings exceeding € 500 is increased from 6% to 12% with effect from 1 October 2017.
Finally, the tax applicable to winnings deriving from Lotto game is increased to 8% from 1 October 2017.
The timing of the change
The Law Decree referred above is immediately effective. In this respect, it is interesting that there is no time of implementation of the new tax regime that might require to change the RTP of the machines.
Also, it should be considered that the Parliament will have to ratify the Law Decree within 60 days, otherwise it will lose effect from its initial publication on the Official Gazette. In this respect, it is unusual that the Law Decree does not provide for the coming into force of the new tax regime at least on the expiry of the 60 day term.
The effect on the market
I expect that the Italian gaming authority will issue a note providing guidelines on how the matter shall be addressed, also in terms of changes to be implemented to the machines. In the meantime, operators and suppliers are a kind of left in a limbo where they do not know what to do.