Conte rescue plan eases tax burdens on Italian gambling

As Italy enters its fourth week of national lockdown, Italian gambling incumbents have been provided light relief by the government’s new economic measures.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has secured an initial €25 billion rescue package, aimed at primarily protecting company payrolls, mortgage repayments and commercial rents.

Further measures see the government temporarily suspend tax duties for a number of ‘at-risk sectors’, in which Italian lottery and betting businesses have been included.

Italy’s Treasury Department will allow gambling companies to postpone duty payments on slots and VLTs to 29 May.

In addition, land-based gambling venues will be allowed to pay their concession fees at the end of year trading, with the government allowing incumbents flexibility on payments which can be undertaken through five separate instalments.

In view of a slowdown in economic activities, Italy’s ADM customs and monopolies agency has extended betting shop and bingo concessions for a further six-month period, with licences respectively ending in 31 December 2020 and 31 March 2021.

The ADM is further expected to announce a concessions extension for slots and VLT tenders until 2021.

A delay is also established for slot and VLT tender that the regulator will publish in 2021, and for the launch of the Public register of gaming operators.

Further positive news sees Italian bingo hall operators issued a license fee reprieve for their entire period of the interrupted business.

Recognised as businesses operating within an at-risk sector, Italian lottery, betting and gaming machine suppliers will be allowed to temporarily suspend payments to Italy’s PAYE programme and contribution for their retail employees.

Despite sanctioning €25 billion in business protection measures, the rescue package is seen as a short-term measure taken by the government. Last week, PM Conte urged the EU to ‘unleash its full firepower allowing Italy access to a €900 billion credit fund ensured by the EU under its  ‘European Stability Mechanism’.

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