Gambling has played a role in Italian culture for as far back as the Roman Empire when legionnaires would wager on games of “Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum,” an early evolution of backgammon. Italy is a Southern European country located in the Mediterranean Sea and bordering France, Austria, and Switzerland – amongst others.
The population of this EU member state is roughly 61 million, making Italy the fourth-largest country in the European Union. The Italian government has long legalized and regulated certain gambling activities, and in 2006, they were the first of the 28 member states to license and regulate online gaming. As we’ll cover later, these laws have led to legal battles with the EU in the past.
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This guide is meant to provide everything you’d possibly need to begin online gambling in Italy. Obviously, the most valuable piece of advice we have here is our list of recommended Italian gambling sites. We’ll get into what makes an excellent gambling website, why we prioritize these qualities, and how our team of experts continually reviews the newest online casinos and sportsbooks.
Then we’ll take you through an overview of online gambling’s legal status in the country, including some of the specific laws and regulations that rule the industry. Lastly, we’ll wrap things up with a timeline of gambling history in Italy and some answers to frequently asked questions.
Why Are These Sites Recommended?
In this section, we’ll take a moment to discuss why the list of Italian gambling sites included above are, in fact, the best. How a player ultimately feels about a gambling website is mostly subjective, which is why we make specific lists for various priorities, with recommendations ranging from the top sites in a country like Italy to the best sites for Visa users or to wager on soccer, for example.
No matter what online gaming experience you’re looking for, chances are our team of expert reviewers have compiled some recommendations to meet your demands. Whether you need the best places to bet on NBA basketball, the safest websites at which to play casino table games, or any other criteria related to the world of gambling, all of our recommendations possess these essential qualities:
Safety and Legitimacy
Our website was created to help fellow gambling enthusiasts avoid the various rogue elements pretending to operate within the industry. It was only after numerous interactions with these thieves that LegitGamblingSites.com was created by a team of experts hoping to make safe and reliable gambling sites more easily accessible. Our number-one priority is preventing fraud, which is why we do the work upfront and provide you with a convenient list of gambling sites that you never have to worry about safety-wise.
If an online gambling site in Italy qualifies for our list of recommendations, we guarantee they can be trusted to provide a fair and honest gaming experience. Every option has undergone extensive vetting by our team and has proven themselves to be a legitimate gambling website. Now you can focus on just the fun stuff: gambling!
Variety of Banking Methods
For example, you may prefer to use your standard bank accounts or credit cards when making financial transactions online. However, for Italian customers using offshore locations, you may not be able to complete transfers due to the country’s laws against accessing gambling sites that aren’t licensed in Italy. Instead, you may need to use third-party payment processors, e-wallets, or cryptocurrency.
When choosing a deposit method, remember that different forms of payment may require different processing timelines before becoming available. If you’re looking to bet right away, remember that the majority of Italian gambling sites accept credit cards and cryptocurrency, two forms of banking that tend to clear instantly.
Winner-Friendly and Fast Payouts
The problem with some internet-based gambling operators is that they frequently don’t respond well when customers finally do beat the house. We’ve seen numerous sites withhold payouts or cancel a bet outright after it’s already won, excusing the behavior by accusing players of being a professional gambler or saying they somehow cheated. Of course, these actions are entirely unfair and something that often lands such sites on our blacklist.
Our expert team of reviewers searches for these and other anti-winning, anti-consumer behaviors when researching a site’s past and going through our ranking process. Don’t worry; the locations recommended on this page will accept – if not celebrate – your wins just as they would your losses.
Building a bankroll and finding success as a gambler can be challenging enough without the relationship strictly becoming a one-way street, with the house always coming out on top. If you’re not allowed to win too, that Italian gambling site doesn’t deserve your money or page clicks.
Bonuses and Loyalty Rewards Programs
The most common bonuses are offered to customers when making their initial deposit into their account. Gambling sites will frequently offer to match a percentage of the total amount of cash deposited, with 100% matching bonuses becoming commonplace. These gifts essentially allow you to double your bankroll before making a single wager.
Loyalty rewards are where you get the good stuff. These programs are meant to express appreciation for long-time and/or active account holders. Think of them as a “thank you” for continuing to give the site your business. What you receive depends on how much money you bet on average and how often. Your typical recreational gambler can usually expect gifts such as cash back on a portion of your losses, gift cards, and website-branded merchandise.
The size of the gifts depends on the value you bring to the Italian gambling site. For high rollers, extraordinary rewards like luxury vacations and expensive vehicles are handed out from time to time. Affectionately nicknamed “whales,” these gamblers are pampered and aggressively catered to in hopes of keeping them feeling appreciated and coming back for more.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Italy?
Yes, both brick-and-mortar and online gambling sites are legal in Italy, though they are handled separately. There are currently four land-based casinos: the only four permitted to exist. Their history stretches back to the Mussolini era, with the infamous fascist leader granting the gaming providers a special status to operate as licensed operators. Each of these locations is regulated by their local municipal jurisdictions.
Online gambling falls under the regulatory authority of the Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies, or AASM. This government agency oversees the following internet-based gambling activities:
- Sports and horse race betting
- Pool betting
- Virtual and live gambling
- Slots, roulette, and other casino games
- Poker and other card games
- Games of skill, including poker tournaments
- Betting exchange
- Online lotteries
Italy was the first nation in the European Union to pass online gambling legislature; however, they’ve been in constant conflict with the EU over these laws ever since. The Italian government wants to ensure their citizens only access gambling websites licensed by the AASM, and similarly want legal gaming operations to exclusively serve residents of the country.
The problem is, part of being a member of the EU involves agreeing not to prevent businesses in other member states from servicing customers across borders. Online gaming operators have repeatedly appealed to the European Court of Justice between the years of 2003 and 2010 to intervene on their behalf.
First, the Italian government was blocking every European gambling operator other than the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) and the National Horse Breeders Enhancement Society (UNIRE). In 2003, the first complaints were filed to the EU, prompting the passing of the liberalized 2006 betting laws.
Forced to allow more access to the marketplace, Italy then decided to block any outside websites that didn’t own a local gaming license. But because they didn’t notify any of the site owners, this was also in violation of the EEC Treaty. The EU ruled against Italy once again for being in breach of an EU directive and ruled in favor of the foreign providers.
Since 2010, Italy has been available to gambling sites located in other EU member states. Foreign corporations are now free to launch real money gambling websites targeted at Italian citizens, but they’re still asked to obtain a license from the AAMS.
How Does Italy Regulate Online Gambling?
Italy has strict rules and regulations when it comes to gambling. Most importantly, any gaming operator offering services to local residents must first obtain a license from the Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies. To comply with treaty rules, any site owners who are licensed under the jurisdiction of other EU states with a minimum turnover of at least 1.5 million euros over the past two years are eligible to apply.
Companies are vetted by the regulatory authority to ensure they meet technical standards and have the means of enforcing Italy’s various gambling laws. For example, they must maintain a database of player identification info and transaction records among many other anti-money-laundering statutes.
Once licensed in the country, approved sites are not allowed to accept bets from both Italian citizens and non-residents. They also may not offer services to players under the age of 18.
Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies (AAMS)
Italy’s online gaming authority is responsible for the following tasks:
- Regulating games and enforcing regulatory rules
- Issuing gaming licenses
- Supervising performance and compliance by licensees
- Monitoring the offer of gaming services
- Collecting gambling taxes
- Stopping illegal gambling
Italy’s History with Gambling
Frequently Asked Questions
Is gambling legal in Italy?
Yes, both land-based and online gambling is legal in Italy. However, there are several restrictions regarding who may serve the country’s residents.
What happens if I’m caught using a gambling site in an Italian region without legalized online gambling?
The individual faces no real threat. Offshore Italian gambling sites can be fined or punished for allowing Italy’s citizens to use an outside or unlicensed (by the AAMS) website.
What are the risks involved with using a gambling website outside of Italy’s borders?
The most significant risk to bettors accessing offshore sites is that there’s nothing you can do if you’re treated unfairly or scammed. That’s why it’s so crucial only to use gambling websites that have been thoroughly researched and vetted by a team of experts. Luckily, you have a list of high-quality, perfectly safe, and legitimate options at the top of this guide.
Does Italy tax winnings from gambling?
Not from the individual. Online gambling operators have their profits taxed. Games of skill (bingo, casino games, poker) are taxed at 20%, while sports betting is 22%.
Who licenses the regulated and legal online gambling sites in Italy?
All online gambling regulations are covered by the Autonomous Administration of State Monopolies. They issue licenses, monitor licensees for compliance, collect taxes, and prosecute illegal gambling operations.
Can I access one EU country’s legal online gambling site from another?
Yes, as of 2010, this is legal in Italy. However, the foreign gaming operator must apply for an AAMS license first. Sites that are already licensed in another EU jurisdiction will go through a six- to eight-month vetting and permitting process before being allowed to operate in the country.