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Italy Online Casinos

Italy Online CasinosItalians love to gamble and the country has a long history of betting dating back as far as the Roman Empire. The game of Baccarat was invented in Italy, and its first casino – now called Casino di Venezia - was established in 1638.

There are now only a handful of land-based casinos in Italy, which are high-end establishments aimed at foreign tourists as much as Italian citizens. Until recently Italians were subject to strict rules regarding gambling, and even lotteries were outlawed, but since 2006 the Italian government has steadily liberalized its gaming regulations, and the country is now considered a pioneer among EU states.

The Italian market is one of the largest and most lucrative in Europe, and operators are falling over themselves to grab a slice of the action. That competition means there is great value for players in terms of choice of games, welcome bonuses and customer loyalty programmes. We’ve put together a list of the best online casinos for Italian players:

Best Italian Casino Sites in 2017

  • Rank
  • Casino
  • Bonus
  • Play
1
100% UP TO €1000
2
100% UP TO €100
3
100% UP TO €500
4
125% UP TO €500

Best Italian Casino Sites in 2017

1
Betway Italy Casino
100% UP TO €1000
Play Now
2
Bet365.it Casino
100% UP TO €100
Play Now
3
Merkur Win Casino
100% UP TO €500
Play Now
4
888.it Casino
125% UP TO €500
Play Now

A Liberal Approach

While most of Europe was reacting to the online revolution with bans and prohibitive legislation, Italy swam against the tide and began to liberalise and regulate the industry.

In 2006 the government introduced regulations which allowed operators to offer sports betting both in retail locations and online. Regulations were also put in place for remote and online betting, but there were restrictions. The government made AAMS (Autonomous Administration of State Monopolies) responsible for issuing licences and administrating the industry.

Initially any operator looking to do business in Italy had to apply for a licence, but a stipulation was that they must use a .it domain and their servers must be located within Italian borders. The AAMS compiled a blacklist of more than 500 ‘illegal’ sites, which it obliged Internet Service Providers to block by law. This quickly changed in 2007 after EU proceedings were initiated against Italy for blocking those domains, and the Italian government sent proposals to Brussels to make the legislation more EU-friendly.

The proposals removed the need for operators to establish an Italian company or house their servers in the country, and in 2009 the ‘Abruzzo Decree’ brought about the biggest revolution in the Italian gaming industry. The legislation made fixed odds games of chance legal, as well as poker and ring games. It included a mandate for the AAMS to regulate betting exchanges, virtual events, and video lottery games; and most importantly, a new tax regime for the newly legalized games.

The tax change may not sound of paramount importance, but it was a vital piece of legislation. Previously betting activities had been taxed on a turnover-based regime, which remains for sports betting, lotteries and skill-based games, but the newly legalized games of chance are subject to 20% tax based on profit. What it meant was that a wider variety of games could be offered to the Italian public, which would not have been possible with the more restrictive tax regime.

By 2011 the licensing application process was updated, and operators were also allowed to offer poker games and casino games (excluding slots). Poker came with restrictions though, and tournaments were only allowed up to a €250 buy-in limit, while at least 90% of the total pot should be returned to the players. Slot machines were finally legalized in 2012, and they have become the single biggest growth area in the Italian Gambling industry ever since.

Europe’s High Rollers

Since the start of liberalisation the Italian gambling industry has become one of the largest in the world, with total revenues in 2014 reaching an eye-watering €728 million.

The landscape of the gaming sector has changed considerably during this period of reform, and online slots have seen monumental growth since they were made legal in 2012. Betting on Horse Racing has been in continual decline, with the AAMS reporting a 17% drop in revenue in 2011, while poker has suffered considerably, losing approximately a third of revenue in 2013. By contrast the AAMS recorded an 80% in casino games profits – thanks largely to the increasing popularity of slot machines.

Spoilt for Choice

With such relaxed laws towards gambling, Italy is one step ahead of the majority of mainland Europe, and it has demonstrated how to develop a thriving sector while collecting considerable revenue for the government in taxation. Italian online casinos continue to thrive and this trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

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