It looks like 2010 is going to be a big year for internet gambling in Italy. Back in June of 2009, the Italian government passed Law No. 77 which legalized online fixed-odds games of chance, along with online poker and ring games. The law was the end result of a three-year project to liberalize the domestic gambling market.
Now, time has come for Italy to opens its doors to the rest of the world. The Italian regulatory body, called AAMS, is still working on sorting out the details of how offshore online gambling sites will be regulated, but they are coming very close to the end, and everything is expected to launch this year.
The real issue, however, is Italy’s demand for centralization. All online gambling services that offshore companies provide to Italian players must be served through a dedicated platform, and must be linked to a central computer system operated by the AAMS. This system will monitor every wager placed by Italian players, and these wagers will be taxed in real time. Additionally, all games must be tested and approved by AAMS officials before they can go live.
Despite these strict rules, more than 60 operators already have licenses to operate in Italy. Later in 2010 the AAMS intends to re-open the licensing process to allow more companies to buy their way in to the Italian internet gambling market, though this could be delayed because the European Commission intends to scrutinize Italy’s new regulatory and operational schemes before they go into action. The market, however, remains hot, and Italians are anxious to see the selection of online gambling sites available to them expand.