Betting exchanges cleared for launch in Italy

Italy’s Council of State has approved in principle the country’s betting exchange regulations, removing the last legal hurdle to Betfair launching its core exchange in the regulated market.

The judges of the Palazzo Spada in Rome on Monday provided a number of amendments to the draft, relating to the protection of minors and tools for customer self-exclusion and limiting play. Once amended, the Minister of Finance only has to sign and publish the decree on the Official Gazette for the regulations to come into force.

Under the new regulations, operators will be able to charge up to 10% commission on matched bets, with this taxed at 20% by the Italian government. The minimum stake for “back” and “lay” bets placed by players will be 50 euro cents, with maximum winnings per bet capped at €10,000.

But while only the Minister’s signature and state IT provider SOGEI’s implementation of the game platform now stand in the way of Betfair and other providers going live in the market, the time taken to notify the decree to the EC and for the Council of State to deliver its opinion means exchange betting now joins a lengthy pipeline of products awaiting implementation. The actual launch date therefore remains more uncertain than imminent.

Italian regulator AAMS and SOGEI are currently working towards the major product launch in the regulated market of 2012, of online slots from 3 December. Virtual betting is also understood to have overtaken exchange betting in the launch queue, with fast-fold poker and an expansion of sports betting also being prepared. New online bingo regulations, allowing licensed operators to offer a wider range of game types and jackpots, were also notified to the EC in August.

Betfair’s exchange has been unavailable in Italy since early last year, when it was subject to enforcement action from AAMS for offering games to Italian punters off, in breach of its licence for

Leading Italian software provider and network Microgame, which first revealed its plans to launch an exchange betting product back in 2010, is looking to roll out its new People’s IBEX platform to its client base of 160 licensees already offering products including fixed odds betting, horse-race betting, skill games and poker. The platform has been developed with Betdaq operator Global Betting Exchange (GBE).

Article written by Stephen Carter

Casino Choice journalist

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