Italy mulls sports betting tax hike; Paddy Power gives Italy the boot


italy-sports-betting-tax-paddy-powerItaly’s sports betting operators could face higher taxes on both land-based and online operations if legislators get their way.

Nothing is carved in stone, but early drafts of Italy’s 2018 national budget suggest sports betting tax hikes are in the works. The proposals would see land-based betting taxes raised one point, from 18% to 19%, while online betting tax would increase from its current rate of 22% to 23%.

Italy’s Ministry of Finance is reportedly also considering an option that would harmonize online and land-based sports betting taxes at 21%, while hiking fees on each land-based gaming outlet by a couple thousand euros.

Italy last revised its online sports betting tax regime nearly two years ago, replacing the widely despised tax on betting turnover that operators found incompatible with profits. Since that change, along with a significant expansion in the types of legal wagering options, Italy’s online sports betting market has routinely posted double-digit year-on-year monthly revenue gains.

The budget draft also proposes extending all current betting concessions through the end of 2018 in order to give regional governments time to adapt their local rules to the ongoing revamp of the land-based gaming industry, which includes significant reductions in the number of permissible slot machines and video lottery terminals.

Meanwhile, UK-listed betting operator Paddy Power Betfair has announced plans to withdraw its Paddy Power brand from the Italian market. The decision was reportedly the result of Paddy Power’s early-2016 merger with online betting exchange Betfair.

After discussions with Italy’s Customs and Monopoly Agency, Paddy Power has decided to renounce the concession it was granted in 2012. The company’s Power Leisure Bookmakers Limited subsidiary says Italian punters will no longer be able to access the website and the company will close its site this December.

The Paddy Power Betfair group will continue to operate in Italy via its Betfair Italia offshoot, and Paddy Power’s Italian customers will receive further updates on the situation via their online accounts.