Betfair Threatens to Leave Italy Over Taxes

Marcello Minenna, the new director-general of Italy’s ADM customs and monopolies agency, has not made a good first impression in certain gambling circles. His across the board 0.5 percent tax increase on retail, digital and virtual sports has drawn fire from horseracing and licensed betting exchanges.

The tax increase was green lit this summer after the Parliament approved a set of fiscal measures that supported a federal mandate aimed at supporting the recovery of Italian business and social services post Covid-19.

The ADM hopes to raise €90 million (US$105.4 million) to fund the revitalization of sports, a figure bookmakers and operators returning to business from lockdown contested, according to SBCNews.

Representing Italy’s embattled Ippica (horse racing sector), Agricultural Undersecretary Giuseppe L’Abbate warned Minenna racing could not accept the tax as a new normal.

“The decree is clearly addressed to the sport sector, not to horse racing,” L’Abbate said in a written statement. “A new tax will affect our attempts to support the Ippica.”

Minenna assured Italian racing that Sports Minister Vicenzo Spadafora will clarify whether racing must be included in the tax.

Meanwhile, Flutter Entertainment Plc, the parent company to bookmaker, Betfair, said a tax increase may compel the operator to leave the market, where it enjoys a 96 percent share. Flutter has questioned how the ADM calculates its rate for betting exchanges.

The new tax, in addition to existing corporate taxes already paid, will lead to an overall tax of 111 percent, making Betfair structurally uneconomic within Italy.

Flutter has asked the ADM to eliminate its temporary levy in favor of an equivalent GGR tax rate for betting exchanges, currently set at 20 percent.

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