Regulation round-up: Italy's tax increase, sports betting exempt from Swedish restrictions

By Iqbal Johal

ITALY

The Italian Government has approved a temporary tax on sports betting turnover, as the nation attempts to recover from the coronavirus outbreak.

The measure comes as part of the Government’s relaunch decree; a €55bn ($60.36bn) pledge to help rebuild all businesses and industry in Italy.

The turnover tax will apply on all sports betting-related activity in Italy, including online, retail and virtual sports, which will be temporarily applied until at least 31 December 2022.

Initial proposals called on a 0.75% tax on all sports betting turnover, which saw an initial outcry from the industry, with trade bodies urging for talks to be dropped.

However, the 0.5% figure forms the ‘save sports fund,' aimed at raising much needed money for the sports leagues which are struggling after being suspended in mid-March.

A key aspect of any turnover-based tax is that it taxes betting handle, rather than revenue, so if a sports betting company were to lose money on a match, it would then still have to pay tax on the wagers placed during that event.

SWEDEN

Meanwhile in Sweden, minister for social security Ardalan Shekarabi has presented adjustments to the Government’s set of temporary gambling measures.

Last month, it was announced there would be restrictions during the current pandemic, including a weekly gambling deposit limit of SEK 5,000 ($519), online casino time limits and a SEK 100 cap on bonus offers.

However, the revised proposal would exclude horseracing and sports betting from the deposit limit of SEK 5,000.

Online gambling trade association BOS believes the measures aren’t to do with consumer protection, as data shows online casino activity hasn’t increase but horseracing betting has.

A BOS statement said: “It is obvious the Government’s actions, despite its rhetoric, has nothing to do with consumer protection.

"But rather to do with an aim to provide benefits to gambling companies that it is closely connected to, such as horse betting company ATG, with a majority of its board members appointed by the Government."

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