The never ending story around the € 500 million contribution paid by Italian AWP and VLT licensees in 2015 has not reached an end yet.
The Italian Stability Law 2015 had obliged Italian AWP and VLT licensees as well as the other entities of the supply chain (the so called “filiera”) to pay a total aggregate annual amount of € 500 million. This amount was allocated to the licensees depending on the number of AWP and VLTs that they had operational at the end of 2015.
The reaction to the € 500 million contribution
The measure had raised not only major complaints, but had been also challenged for its lack of compliance with Italian constitution. Indeed, the gaming law provision introducing such payment obligation was placing an unbearable cost on the supply chain. Also this cost was merely based on the number of AWPs and VLTs installed, regardless of the revenues generated through them, which might have been considerably different that was in contrast with the principles of equal and reasonable treatment. And these are the aspect under which the law is now under the review of the Italian Constitutional Court.
The removal of the gaming contribution for the future
In the meantime, the Government recognised the weaknesses of such provision and cancelled the obligation to pay the € 500 million contribution from 2016 onwards. But the issue remains in relation to the amount already paid in 2015.
The matter is even more complex if it is considered that the € 500 million contribution had caused the reaction of gaming hall operators, suppliers, distributors which believe that they are not part of the entities which were obliged to contribute.
The current “limbo”
Unfortunately, given the workload of the Italian Constitutional Court, its decision is not expected any time soon. At the same time, some of the AWP and VLT licensees used to pay the € 500 contribution the cash deposit that they are obliged to establish at the Italian gaming regulator to cover, at least in part, the amount they were not able to collect from their supply chain. But what will happen to the amount paid?