Regulating gambling has become a challenge for Italian authorities. The increasing number of online problem gamblers cases in Italy; exploitation by organized crime for money laundering; even the corruption of match fixing on sports; have become major stones for political shoes.
The AAMS has become a protective figure for citizens’ from the harms of gambling with zealous commitment. However as the AAMS puts its pressure over operators and shady foes, the lack of enforcement over the ones under its wing still doesn’t prevent them from having one of the largest rate problem gambling in Europe.
Adm.Gov.It was originally created to regulate gambling and tobacco manufacturing. Since 2012 it has been integrated with the Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM) a tax and customs dedicated agency. Since then both figures have been involved in the regulation of all forms of gambling as part of its duties.
Besides taking care of tax collection, ensuring the commitment of operators to follow the rules and issuing licenses for newcomers, the AAMS has also the duty to prevent the exploitation of the industry for money laundering, and even aiding to protect the integrity of sports against match fixing.
While many of these activities can be burdensome for many, this modern-day praetorian guard has taken each role efficiently. Of course, The Agency’s approach cannot be a soft one, and has been deemed one of the strictest authorities in the world, when it comes to operators.
This approach and role taken has proved its ups and downs, while the Italian markets seem to need a stricter approach for an industry that can become abusive if regulated improperly, that hard attitude could make The Agency a bully itself.
A spot in the gambling market is accessible only for honest, experienced and solvent operators.
There have been several cases of operators that were only a Ponzi scheme and have let scammed and broken customers in their path. The AAMS takes very seriously the capacity of operators to honour their customer winnings and requires licensed operators and operators without Italian license like NonAAMS.com to have proven track record; at least €1.5 million euros turnover revenues in the last two years; plus an application cost of €200,000 weeds out any second intentioned operator.
Its transversal self-exclusion scheme.
Customers that need to take a time from their gambling have the benefit of the AAMS’ transversal scheme. Customers only need to address their request with the operator through their gambling account for the time they specified, from 24 hours periods up to 5 years.
Self-exclusions with a minimum of 6 months extension will immediately get the requesting user blocked from all gambling services in the country and operators must also allow the withdrawal of all the funds back to its rightful owner. Much shorter self-exclusion requests (mostly caused by tilt) can be applied directly with the operator providing the account unless otherwise requested.
Preventing criminal activities involving match-fixing, money laundering and illegal betting.
Money laundering and illegal betting are difficult challenges to unroot from the industry as the long-standing feud against organized crime. The Agency has joined forces with Interpol and local law enforcers to track down all these activities, with several high profile busts on illegal betting and laundering rings the size of hundreds of betting shops.
Because of the several match fixing cases that tarnished the integrity of Italian sports, the ADM has taken the role of arbiter validating the matches’ results after searching for any unusual coincidence, using a dedicated network with all its licensed operators. Any unlawful coincidence will be linked to the offender and they will be severely punished.
Protection of children and vulnerable groups is a priority.
The ADM has been very strict to prevent the exposure of gambling in children and vulnerable groups. Any proposal of gambling towards the aforementioned, is severely punished. This protective approach has led to the “The Dignity Decree” in 2018 that banned all public airing of gambling advertisements on television and radio, along with sponsorship display on any live event.
This restriction for operations has also extended to the online realm. Licensed operators cannot promote their sites and cannot appear on search engines, unless being directly searched.
The decision does have its detractors but it will force operators to find an ethical approach.
Overprotective with Italian residents.
When it comes to punishing citizens for the wrongdoing of accessing illegal or unlicensed operators, the AAMS seems to lose its grip. Even if Italian residents are the ones actively seeking for offshore gambling providers, the last ones are who face criminal prosecution, fines and getting blacklisted at best. The witch hunt has caused conflict with the EU members as it contradicts the EuroZone economic trade agreements.
Taxation has become a heavier burden for operators.
For operators the continuing increase of gambling levies has peaked at 40% over their income. Such continuous increase in taxes has caused many operators to get a Curacao eGaming license or leave the market because of its unsustainability.
The root of the evil (for operators) comes directly from the government, since gambling has become a reliable stream of income when the state coffers start to get empty. Betting shops and gambling machines still have an overwhelming presence.
Overpopulation of gambling and corner betting shops.
There is an overwhelming number of betting shops and gambling machines spread across the country. At least 400,000 slots share space with betting corner shops that can be found inside a tobacconist, cafes and even newsletters stands. Arguable controls are excised as some of them have expired licenses.
A contradiction compared to the strict limitations over online operators and brick and mortar casinos. These numbers, however, are expected to be reduced by 2023 but they seem to be a hard business model for Italians.
The Italian authority has been a reliable example of market control for the gambling industry. But its achievement pale as no matter how much pressure of banning is imposed, problem gamblers will still move earth and heaven to fulfil their needs.
By providing ethical incentives to operators and citizens as well, the Italian gambling industry will enrich the state with jobs and tax revenues, relieving the agency’ burden and allowing people to enjoy their lifelong passion safely.