he decision to expand the licensing regime to also include poker cash games, casino games and a broader range of betting options has been driven in part by a need to finance reconstruction projects in the earthquake devastated region of Abruzzo, where local residents have taken to protest against the government for the slow pace of reconstruction.
Speaking at a conference on Abruzzo last week, Francesco Rodano, Head of Remote Gaming at AAMS, said the new measures would further safeguard players and problem gamblers while helping to support reconstruction efforts in the region, admitting that previous attempts to block access to unlicensed online gaming sites had failed, making licensing and regulation the most effective means by which to protect consumers.
According to Rodano, the level of taxation for the new games could be set as high as 20% of gross profits compared to the current level of 4.5% of gross revenue on sports betting and 3% on tournament poker and skill games.
Italians spent a total of 1.5 billion euros on online gaming during the first five months of this year, an increase of 186% versus the same period last year. The growth was led by the online poker and skill games segment which achieved gross gaming revenues of 199.7 million euros in May, representing 59% of total Italian online gaming spend.