Italian Government sanctions betting shop closures over unpaid taxes

By Hayley Grammer

Italian betting shops refusing to pay tax duties face closure as newly appointed Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM) director-general Marcello Minenna begins negotiations with the Financial Police Unit (GDF) to ‘create a mechanism’ to shut down non-compliant stores and betting points. 

The GDF is the federal police agency responsible for enforcing Italian business sanctions and cessations, meaning that Minenna must obtain an agreement with GDF counterparts in order to approve the closures. 

Operating as the regulatory body for Italian gambling, the ADM claims it has the power to impose business closures following the introduction of new gambling amendments under Italy’s ‘2020 Budget Law’, passed by parliament last December. 

The ADM has warned bookmakers against appealing its enforcement, reminding betting leadership that Budget Law gambling amendments had been formally granted approval by theEuropean Court of Justice. According to the ECJ, “betting duty is not discriminatory and must be imposed to all operators [within] the Italian territory, without any distinction based on the registered office”. 

COVID-19 has seen troubled bookmakers receive little relief from Government, which enforced a higher than expected temporary pandemic-related turnover tax earlier this year with proceeds earmarked to help the nation’s sports sector emerge from hibernation. As such, the Government now requires a 0.5% tax rate to apply through 31 December 2021, and is expected to collect €40m this year and €50m in 2021 from the increase. 

Minenna, who took over leadership of the ADM during lockdown, said that he would continue the agency’s toughest stance on the monitoring of Italian gambling incumbents, in particular the collection of a reported €120m in unpaid taxes stemming from 2018. ThADM is currently waiting on the Italian Supreme Court’s judgement regarding 200 outstanding gambling tax convictions. 


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