Black markets are very active in the online gambling scene. Several operators work without a license, which causes major problems for authorities.
Significant research has been done, and the final report published by the Italian press La Gazzetta dello Sport has sent shockwaves throughout the Italian gambling industry. The report says that a staggering €18.50 billion is wagered on unapproved gambling websites annually in Italy. This eye-opening revelation illustrates approximately 75% of all unlawful bets placed within the country.
An Astonishing Revenue Loss
The implications of this unlicensed gambling activity are not limited to illegal bets alone. According to the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), Italy’s black market outcomes in a colossal failure of nearly €1.00 billion in gross gaming income every year.
This astounding figure is equivalent to the blended regulated online gambling earnings of eight other European Union countries, including Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, and Slovenia.
While the Italian Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM) has taken some actions to handle this issue, it is evident that the problem persists. In the current year alone, ADM has blocked over 9,800 unapproved sites, surpassing the total of 9,400 blocked in the entire year of 2022.
Rising Concerns and Calls for Action
Concerns of both citizens and authorities appeared very quickly.
EGBA is deeply worried about the enormous number of Italian players who opt for unlicensed gambling platforms, notably those located outside of the European Union.
If you’re wondering why this is such a big problem, it’s because these sites lack the client safety measures implemented by regulated operators and pose a more increased risk to the well-being of players. To mitigate the blossoming of the black market, EGBA is advocating for expanded awareness among clients about the risks associated with unlicensed gambling.
One of the suggested strategies is the revision of Italy’s blanket ban on gambling promotion. At the moment, Italy prohibits all forms of gambling marketing. On the other hand, EGBA thinks that the absence of understanding regarding permitted casinos may be the cause for the high majority of unregulated gambling in the country.
The EGBA’s secretary-general, Maarten Haijer, expressed his concerns about Italy’s black market and called for action saying: ”The significant size of Italy’s online black market is concerning, yet it is not surprising given that Italy has one of Europe’s strictest advertising regimes for its licensed gambling companies. The country’s ban on advertising for licensed gambling operators is clearly favoring the black market. Without a sufficient level of advertising, there is no real way for Italians to tell the difference between a gambling website which is licensed in Italy – and applies the country’s consumer protection rules – and one that is not. It is evident that enforcement action against black market operators is not sufficient. The government needs to revise its advertising rules for gambling to ensure Italian citizens can be well-informed about the licensed websites in the country.”
The report’s publication overlaps with a demanding period for Italy’s federal football team, as several players face investigations and penalties related to breaches of betting rules.
”This week, the Italian Federal Prosecutor’s Office handed Juventus footballer Nicolò Fagioli a seven-month suspension for betting on football.”
We hope that Italy will find a way to suppress illegal gambling so that players can play safely and securely!
Source: ”EGBA: revise Italy advertising ban to combat black market gambling”. iGaming Business. October 19, 2023.