Italy Black Market Gambling Now Worth $26bn+ Per Year, EGBA Blames Advertising Ban

  • La Gazzetta dello Sport says that Italy’s black market revenue is at €25bn ($26.47bn) per year
  • Most of that revenue is coming from online gambling at around €18.5bn ($19.58bn) or 75%
  • The EGBA has blamed the nation’s ban on gambling ads, pushing people to unlicensed sites
  • Three famous Italian soccer players are in the headlines for breaching gambling rules
Italy flag with crack
Italian black market gambling is on the rise, and the EGBA has blamed a blanket gambling ad ban. [Image:]

It looks like it could be back to the drawing board for Italian officials aiming to combat the nation’s black market gambling operators. The country has seen a meteoric rise in black market gambling over the past year, up to €25bn ($26.47bn) per year, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

the $26bn+ total represents a larger regulated gambling revenue than eight other EU countries

Of that total, €18.5bn ($19.58bn) relates to online gambling, representing 75% of the total. Astonishingly, the $26bn+ total represents a larger regulated gambling revenue than eight other EU countries. It also means the country is losing out on around $1bn in annual tax revenue.

What could be the reason for such a spike? Well, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has made its opinion clear. In a statement on its website, the EU gaming body said: “The country’s ban on gambling advertising is clearly favoring the black market and should be revised.”

Italy approved its blanket ban on gambling ads – including sports sponsorships – in June 2018 in an effort to tackle gambling-related harm. At the time, Italy Managing Director for LeoVegas Niklas Lindahl warned that the ban would push people towards the black market where operators would not protect players.

Adding more fuel to the fire, Italy is currently in the spotlight due to a gambling scandal surrounding three of its national soccer team players. Sandro Tonali, Nicolo Zaniolo, and Nicolò Fagioli have all admitted to breaching gambling rules – the latter receiving a seven-month ban from playing this week.

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