Is sports betting legal in Italy?
Online betting in Italy is thriving and is set to become even more competitive. But this hasn’t always been the case.
Originally, the subject of whether gambling is a game of luck rather than skill played a significant part in the strict rules enforced across Italy.
Pre-2006, only a small number of state-backed betting operators were allowed to run in Italy as a result of the government’s strict regulations; this included the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) and the National Horse Breeders Enhancement Society (UNIRE).
To say the gambling laws were the most restricting across Europe prior to 2006 wouldn’t be an exaggeration. The rulings in place back then prohibited around 600 betting sites from running, a situation that smacked of the establishment monopolising the industry and which violated EU regulations. Subsequently, a 2006 investigation into the Italian gambling industry was carried out by the European Commission.
This proved a turning point for the entire gambling landscape in Italy with legislation introduced to permit other games of skill, while the investigation also opened up the market up to bookmakers outside of Italy (but still in the EU) to make themselves available to Italian bettors, providing they met the necessary requirements and were able to obtain an Italian license from the official licensing body, the AAMS (Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stado – Autonomous Administration of the State).
As a result, some of the biggest European bookmakers in the world – Betfair, William Hill, Ladbrokes are allowed to operate within the country and attract an Italian audience, a scenario which has helped Italy become one of the world’s most profitable online gambling markets.
How the legislation affects you
Bettors in Italy have always been well protected and even more so under the most recent laws. There’s next to no chance of Italian players being exposed to anything other than reputable companies given the stipulations an online bookmaker must adhere to in order to gain a license from the AAMS, which includes being based in the EU, meeting turnover figures, using high functioning software and paying a compulsory fee of €350,000 to support the AAMS in regulating the market.
The AAMS also work closely with other EU based regulatory enforcers to discover better ways to control the industry and make sure players are guarded from illegal betting sites by the highest level of protection possible.
In a further boost, players are exempt from paying tax on any winnings - only the operators are obliged to pay under the legislation. It appears the powers that be have looked across at countries such as France who tax betting companies to the high heavens making it impossible for them to make a profit, a scenario which leaves open the possibility of an uncertain market from developing.
We only list bookmakers licensed in Italy.