Italian Online Casinos
Italian online casinos are a relatively new phenomenon. For years, Italians were banned from all forms of gambling, including lotteries. Italian gambling law was once among the most conservative on the planet. Thanks to new legislation, online casino gambling and other forms of wagering are now legal in Italy
Are Online Casinos Legal in Italy?
Thanks to recent legislation and regulation by the Italian government, online casinos are legal in Italy as long as they follow the rules and regulations established by the Italian government.
The Italian government, like many other European countries, now has an extensive set of laws making up their national gambling legislation package. Under these laws, the government of Italy has the exclusive power to grant licenses for gambling. Italy reached these new standards for online gaming through a government agency known as AAMS, which stands for the Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies. That means the Italian gambling market is now a part of the Italian government.
The Italian AAMS has jurisdiction over everything related to gambling, from the issuing of gambling licenses to the enforcement of gambling laws. The goal of the Italian government is for all gambling, wagering, and games of chance to be organized and run by the government, to make sure they all comply with Italian gambling law. To enforce gambling law, the Italian government has set up a serious penalty structure for breaking gaming regulations, including appearing at a criminal trial, potential imprisonment, hefty fines, and restrictions of freedom to gamble in the future. The Italian government has total power over all gambling in that country’s borders.
Unlike some world governments, Italian law spells out a clear difference between what they call permissible and illegitimate gambling. For a long time, all gambling was illegal in Italy; only recently have gambling laws caught up with modern technology, including regulations for online casinos.
In February 2011, the Italian government passed a bill that explicitly legalizes online casino and poker cash games if they play by Italian gambling law. As of this writing, online poker satellite and other tournaments (as well as poker cash games) are allowed, with a buy-in restriction of €250. The other major Italian gambling law that online gambling sites must follow is that all their games must return at least 90% of money collected back to players.
Online Casinos & the Euro
It’s important for Italians to find online casinos that accept the Euro. Transferring your currency adds expense and time to your online casino account transactions.
The good news is that many online casinos use the Euro, catering to the big European gambling market. Since the invention of the European Union and the subsequent adoption of the Euro by many European countries, Europe looks more and more like a single nation. The Euro is one of the world’s most traded and most valuable currencies, so any online casinos that want to attract European clients pretty much has to accept Euros for all financial transactions.
Online casinos that accept Euros are an interesting group; since the Euro is accepted in so many different countries representing a variety of cultural traditions and languages, casinos that cater to players who want to use Euros generally have a lot of language support through customer service or on the website itself. If you’re looking for a casino that accepts Euros, look for online casinos that let you transfer money using methods popular in Europe like NETeller, Ukash or the popular PayPal casinos. Any online casino that accepts transfers from European payment processors generally accepts transactions in Euros.
For Italian gamblers who want to play online, the fact that the native currency in Italy is the Euro is good news. Most online casinos perform deposits and withdrawals in Euros, and the number of casinos that target the European market is growing thanks to a boom in interest in real money mobile casinos throughout Europe. The European gambling market has become a big target since the American gambling market started shrinking, but the popularity of mobile gambling is adding to the numbers of European online gamblers. Italians should expect more and more online casinos to accept Euros and offer language support in Italian.
The Future of Italian Online Casinos
The future of Italian online casinos looks bright. According to the AAMS, in 2007 alone, Italians bet more than 42 billion euros, which represents about 2% of the Italian GDP. Italy is not a country with a huge number of traditional land-based casinos; the majority of the Italian gambling dollar is spent on sports betting or the big national Italian lottery. Online casino gambling is growing in popularity since the new gambling legislation appeared in 2011, and the AAMS reports a greater demand for legal online casino gambling than ever before.
As it stands now, any online casino that wants in to the Italian gambling market can only offer classic casino games and cash poker games; no online slot machines are legal under the current Italian law. Casino sites that want to open in Italy have to prove that they are fully compliant with the new Italian laws and regulations regarding online gambling, and eventually submit a complex set of forms directly to the AAMS to prove their compliance. These sound like a lot of restrictions, but the fact that Italians can now access legal online casino gambling is a big deal, and the Italian government is trying to embrace online gambling as a new revenue source.
Italians should expect to see more online casinos catering to their business as well as a number of state-run and state-licensed casino websites opening in the next few years. Italy’s use of the Euro is a boon for their online gambling market, since many online casino sites are already set up to accept the Euro. As time goes on, if the Italian government is anything like other world governments, more relaxations on the types of online games that can be played legally will appear. For now, the future of online casino gambling in Italy is on target to rival that of Spain or the UK in a few short years.