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Italian bookmakers face closure over unpaid taxes

The reported sum of unpaid taxes is €120m and dates back to 2018

Italy’s newly appointed Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM) director-general, Marcello Minenna, states that Italian betting shops are refusing to pay tax duties to local authorities as they are struggling due to impacts brought about by COVID-19. These shops are subject to forced closures in the next few months. 

ADM - The Italian customs agency - said that it will allow no reprieve for the operators. Marcello Minenna has commenced negotiations with the Financial Police Unit (GDF) - the federal police agency responsible for enforcing Italian business sanctions and cessations - outlining the process following the shutdown of the non-compliant betting shops in the coming months. 

Marcello MinennaThe new gambling amendments under Italy’s ‘2020 Budget Law’, passed by the parliament last December, gives ADM, the power to impose business closures as a punitive measure for operators that are not in line with the Italian gambling legislation. 

According to the European Court of Justice, “betting duty is not discriminatory and must be imposed to all operators [within] the Italian territory, without any distinction based on the registered office”. 

Italy’s Supreme Court, the Corte di Cassazione, is expected to pass judgement on 200 outstanding gambling tax convictions by the end of the summer. 

Minenna insists on carrying on with the agency’s strict attitude to unpaid taxes as it aims to collect a reported sum of €120million which dates back to 2018. The ADM is currently waiting on the Italian Supreme Court’s judgement regarding 200 outstanding gambling tax convictions.  

The Italian Government has provided little relief to local bookmakers  facing difficulties during COVID-19. However, it has increased turnover tax  earlier this year with proceeds earmarked to help the nation’s sports sector emerge from hibernation. This sector now requires a 0.5% tax rate applicable from  December 31st 2021 for gambling companies, and is expected to collect €40m this year and €50m in 2021 from the increase.

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