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Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved. Poker History. Editor: Erik Smith.
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ITALIAN POKER RING FENCE

The Italian Criminal law proclaims gambling illegal whether it is organized in a public place, an open-to-public place or a private club. In Italy there's a difference between the games of luck and games of skill. Sports-betting, lotteries and few other games fall into the category of legal and regulated gambling activities.

Only the State has the right to allow gambling. AAMS (Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stado – Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies) is granted the power to issue licenses and regulate other gambling matters. The punishment for breaking the law ranges from fines to imprisonment.1

 

Italy has come a long way from totally prohibiting all gambling activities, to legalizing some of them under certain conditions.

The following amendments liberalized the market in 2006:

  • Legalisation of real-money skill games and betting exchange
  • Opening of the Italian gambling market to operators from EU and EFTA countries (on condition they meet certain requirements)
  • Opening of the new license tender that was supposed to rearrange the network of offline betting establishments and also providing possibility for online gaming operators to offer their services on a legal basis.2

The Finance Act 2007 was another milestone in the regulation of gambling in Italy. It legalized card games of skill, specifying that such games should be played in the form of a tournament with the stake equal to the tournament entry fee. This automatically legalized Texas Hold'em. Due to these changes PokerStars.it was launched in October 2008 as a result of this.3

 

The "Comunitaria" decree (February 2011) was a real breakthrough for the gambling industry in Italy. It provided a regulation for cash poker games and casino games and also anchored changes introduced in the previous version of the decree.

One of its most notable aspects was the new tax regime based on the profit rather than on the turnover. A flat rate of 20% was to be applied to all newly legalized games except the video lottery games. Operators organizing sports and horse betting, lotteries and skill games still had to pay 3% of total tournament buy-ins sold.

 

Also, the new decree obliged operators to pay back to players at least 90% of the wagered money in the form of winnings. The maximum buy-in for a poker tournament was set at EUR 250 and the maximum initial stake for each gaming session could not exceed EUR 1,000.4

 


1 LawinSport.com (page removed)

2 Viaden.com 

3 PokerStars.com October 15, 2008 (article removed)

4 DLApiper.com