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Italy's Online Gaming Blacklist Hits over 4,500! malta, casino brokerage, hotel brokerage,news-archive malta, aacasino solutions malta

17/08/13 - Italy's Online Gaming Blacklist Hits over 4,500!


European countries such as Greece, Belgium and Bulgaria have been in the poker news headlines recently regarding their ever growing blacklist of online gaming websites.


Greece recently expanded its blacklist to over 400 such websites while Bulgaria’s list has grown to over 100 sites and counting. While those numbers can be seen as being unnecessarily high, they are nothing when compared to the number of blacklisted online gaming sites in Italy.


The recent round of listings by the southern European country’s regulator has put the total number of blacklisted gaming sites at4,513! 

The number broke through the 4,500 mark after the Autonomous Administration of State Monopolies (AAMS) blocked a total of 34 .com gaming websites since its most recent update that came last month.


The 34 include mirrors for Betfair, Bwin and Unibet’s dot.coms, almost certainly not used by the operators themselves, given all hold Italian licences.


Italy boasts the largest online gaming blacklist in the world since the AAMS started the list back in 2006. The country has blacklisted nearly 645 online gaming sites per year on average, or two sites per week. No matter how one presents the statistics, the facts are that the blacklist is amazingly long.


The primary reason for the blacklisted sites is that the regulator has aggressively pursued online gaming sites that have not adhered to the country’s Finance Act. The Act states that any online gaming company wishing to operate in Italy must have a national licence granted to it by the AAMS.


While the blacklist has not been fully effective in stopping Italian players from playing on some non-licenced gaming sites, it appears to have also enhanced traffic to Italian-registered gaming services.


The blocks have however proved largely ineffective in preventing Italian players from playing on sites which haven’t received authorisation from AAMS, as they are easily circumvented with the use of new domains and redirects.


The current stakes-based tax for sports betting makes it difficult for licensed operators to compete with the markets and value available on offshore sites, leading to increasing numbers of Italians betting there instead of on AAMS-licensed sites, a trend reflected in the sector’s consistently poor performance figures. Lobby group the Remote Gambling Association has argued the current regime undermines Italy’s professed drive to protect consumers and collect tax revenues by regulating the online gambling sector.


AAMS is however now preparing to allow online operators to offer bets on events other than those included in its official schedule, or palinsesto, allowing licensees to close the gap to offshore sites in terms of their offer. At present, licensed operators can only offer around 10% of the markets available on sites.


The turnover tax for sports betting across Italy will remain in place, with many sportsbook operators concerned that Betfair will be unfairly advantaged when it launches its exchange there either later this year or early in 2014, given the product will be subject to a considerably lower effective tax rate of 20% of gross profits. Exchange market liquidity will however suffer from being restricted to Italian punters.


Italy, the world’s first igaming market, took an important step towards reducing the black market and bringing Italian players within its regulatory and tax regime in December, when it authorised online slots.


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