Gambling sponsorship deals extended to July in Italy
Italian communications regulator AGCOM has allowed existing sponsorship deals in-place between Serie A football clubs and gambling operators to continue until July.
Angelo Marcello Cardani, president of AGCOM, wrote to clubs late last week to give further details about how sponsorships will be affected by the government’s ban on gambling advertising. Initially, sponsorship deals were to be prematurely ended on 01 January 2019, but they have now been allowed to extend to July, in line with advertising.
That means that a blanket ban on both advertising and sponsorship from gambling firms will fully come into force in July this year.
While the move is good news for Italian football clubs, it is merely an extension until the ban comes into force anyway, and talks between government and the industry are reported to have completely stalled.
Alongside the advertising ban, operators in Italy have also been hit with a recent tax hike.
Online operators with an Italian licence have seen a 5% rise in the tax rate on gross gaming revenue, from 20% to 25%. Retail operators have also been hit. Operators with retail outlets face a 2% rise, with annual revenues now taxed at 20%.
Despite the less than favourable market conditions, the industry is on the rise in Italy. Recent figures from Italian regulator Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM) showed that on the year, sports betting and online sports betting had grown by 10.8% and 16% respectively, in 2018.
Operators have warned that prices may rise and the illegal gambling sector may flourish as more people are driven towards it in search of better value.
The Italian government is hoping to earn up to €30m in additional revenue, but should operators’ warnings be proved right, then both government and the industry will miss out on revenue.