Italy has gone ahead with plans to introduce an additional tax on sports betting to finance a “Save Sport” fund.
Italy.- The Italian Council of Ministers has gone ahead with the introduction of a new temporary tax on sports betting for 18 months as part of a “Relaunch Decree” aimed at revitalising the country after the coronavirus crisis.
The tax, now officially confirmed in the government’s Official Gazette, aims to finance a “Save Sport” fund to support the recovery of national sport.
After much debate and criticism from the industry, the final amount of the tax has been set at 0.5 per cent of takings from all forms of sports betting, both traditional and online, until the end of 2021.
The first draft of the law had proposed a tax of 0.75 per cent, which was reduced to 0.3 per cent in a later draft.
The final draft settles on a figure of 0.5 per cent of takings, but the measure will remain in place for a shorter period of time. The tax will now apply until the end of 2021, while the original proposal was to maintain the measure into 2022.
The intended size of the sports fund has also been reduced. The original proposal aimed to create a fund of at least €40million for 2020 and €50million for 2021, but the final draft says that these will now be the maximum rather than minimum limit.
Industry sources say that with the drop in revenue caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the new tax will equate to a 15 per cent tax hike. The industry estimate that total collections for 2020 could drop to €270million compared to €430million in 2019.
Questions remain over how money from the Save Sport fund will be distributed. Football accounts for 74 per cent of sports betting in Italy.
Gambling industry workers and lottery sellers are organising protests in Naples tomorrow (Friday) and in Rome on Monday against the government’s introduction of new taxes when there is still no date set for a return to business.
Trade association Acadi has said the gambling industry in Italy is losing €600million for every month businesses remain closed.