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Italian betting leadership criticized the parliamentary discussions for slapping a new 0.75% tax on betting and virtual sports revenues for garnering funds for ‘distressed Italian sports.’

The Italian Parliament has started discussions on a proposed ‘Revival Decree’, which is intended to help business and society’s recovery from COVID-19’s long-term consequences.

Some of the members of the parliament talked about a possible implementation of a 0.75% tax on all betting-related wagers – online, retail and virtual sports content.

All Italian gambling trade bodies criticized the proposal, alleging that COVID-19 discussions had been hijacked to further punish the industry.

Retail trade bodies Acadi (gaming machines) and Sistema Gioco (betting shops) released a joint statement calling for the Parliament to immediately drop any talks on “hypothetical taxes at a time when Italian gambling is living in anguish”.

Acadi and Sistema Gioco have suggested that their members are “in bewilderment that the government would pursue a 0.75% sports wagering tax, that would increase the overall tax burden on Italian betting’s commercial chain to over 30%.”

Italian online gaming group LOGiCO said a wagering levy would literally be “a gift to the underworld.”

Writing to Parliament, President Moreno Marasco of LOGiCO stated that licenced online incumbents should not “digest an umpteenth tax that harasses legal firms to operate in a market that has doubled its tax demand to + 40%.”

He warned: “The threat of a wagering tax represents the extinction of the legal circuit with the consequence of lost guarantees and protections, leading to the “flight” of international operators. A real gift to the underworld that will continue to thrive in this sector. ”