‘Unsustainable aggravation’ – Italian street market hit by higher taxes

‘Unsustainable aggravation’ – Italian street market hit by higher taxes

Wednesday, July 5, 2017 Posted by James Walker
Christian Tirabassi: ‘This is an unsustainable aggravation for companies’

Land-based AWP and VLT operators in Italy have been dealt a double blow by the government, as new legislation sees a further increase in taxes and a reduction in the number of slots per facility.

Providing an update on the Italian gaming market, Christian Tirabassi, senior partner at Ficom Leisure, told TotallyGaming.com that the €3.4 billion budget correction requested by Brussels is now in force.

“The budget contains urgent financial provisions in favour of territorial authorities, further interventions for areas affected by seismic events and development,” Tirabassi said.

“Article 6 of the budget, which came into force on the June 24, includes a number of provisions regarding gaming. The tax on AWPs turnover has been raised from 17.5% to 19%, and the tax on VLT turnover is raised from 5.5% to 6%.”

In addition, as of October 1, 2017, winnings from the fixed-odds Lotto game will be taxed at 8%, while the so-called ‘tax on fortune’ – the tax on winnings more than €500 for instant lotteries, VLTs, SuperEnalotto and Win for Life – doubles from 6% to 12%.

“The number of slots is also to be reduced,” Tirabassi stated. “The plan is to turn off 34% of the slots in Italy. This will be a two-step cut: one of 15% by December 31, 2017, which will reduce the number of active slots from about 400,000 (as of July 2015) to 345,000 licenses.

“The remaining 19% will be turned off by April 30, 2018, bringing down the number of operating slots in Italy to 265,000. The breach of the reduction obligation will be punishable with a fine of €10,000 for each slot.”

Sistema Gioco Italia, the federation representing Italy’s gaming industry, states that the increased level of taxation on slots – 52.5% for VLTs and 64.3% for AWPs on gross gaming revenues (GGR) – are the highest in Europe, compared to 22% for the German market, 25% for the UK and 38% for Spain.

“The taxation raised on turnover represents a much higher taxation on GGR,” Tirabassi said. “This is an unsustainable aggravation for companies, and there is a real risk that many of them will have to shut down.”

Totally Gaming says: The increased taxation and reduction in machine numbers puts Italy’s land-based gaming industry in an increasingly precarious position. Although the government is hoping to raise additional funds for key infrastructure projects through the tax hike, the legislation will account for nothing if AWP and VLT operators are forced to close their doors for good.


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