Friday January 18, 2013 : FURTHER LIBERALISATION PLANNED FOR ITALIAN ONLINE BINGO
EC approved regulations could be implemented as early as mid-year
Italian online bingo punters should see further liberalisation soon – perhaps as early as mid-year – which includes permission for operators to offer other games and slots on their bingo websites.
Regulator AAMS plans to run a consultation initiative ending the third week in February, leading to the implementation of more liberal regulations towards June-July.
The online bingo sector in Italy saw revenues plunge by more than 34 percent to just Euro 3 million recorded in June 2012.
The overhaul of the nation's declining online bingo sector took place last year, with draft regulations submitted to the European Commission for approval around September. The Commission has since approved the changes, which should enable operators to boost revenues by offering players more variety and interest.
The changes include provisions for a minimum ticket price of Euro 1 cent a game ranging up to Euro 10 a game. Other changes include permission to introduce new types of bingo and jackpot offerings.
Industry experts in the sector have noted that side games on bingo sites can boost revenues very significantly, but there will be little relief for bingo operators from a tax perspective – high taxation (11 percent plus a 1 percent SOGEI fee) will continue to make viable business difficult with a minimum 70 percent return to players requirement.
However, in comparison with their land counterparts, Italian online bingo operators are better off. Land bingo operators pay 20 percent on turnover plus a 3.8 percent SOGEI fee, although their minimum return to players is lower at 58 percent.