Gambling Laws in Italy Explained in 2024 

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Legal Disclaimer

This article is for educational reasons only and does not offer legal advice. Contact your attorney to secure advice on any issue or problem.

Using this article or any links doesn’t create an attorney-client relationship. The writer’s views do not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

Italy is among the biggest gambling countries worldwide. In 2021, it ranked 4th among the most prominent online gambling markets worldwide, with a revenue of €4.105 billion.

This feat is possible because betting is legal and widely loved by Italians. The market is highly competitive and has some of the most open gambling regulatory frameworks in the European Union.

This article will discuss the laws governing Italy’s gambling market and how it works. At the same time, we will also look at the country’s flourishing gambling scene.

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Highlights of the Article

  • In 2021, Italy ranked 4th among the most prominent online gambling markets worldwide, with a revenue of 4.109 billion.
  • The country’s gambling market peaked in 2021 when it reached €111 billion worth of wagers
  • The Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato (AAMS) is the primary regulating body of the Italian gambling market.
  • Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM) is the national italian gaming authority of Italy. 
  • Casinos in Italy have the highest tax rates among gambling products, with 20%, followed by Bingo (and other games of chance) with 11%.
  • The lowest tax rate imposed for gambling products in Italy is for sports betting, at 4%.
  • Italy boasts the second-biggest market for lotteries worldwide. In 2021 alone, the industry reached a value of 6.01 billion, 6% of the global market size.  
  • Italy is the third most prominent sports betting country in the European Union, with a 10% market size and a value of €2 billion.
  • The Italian gambling market is projected to reach €28.7 billion by 2028.

The Legality of Gambling in Italy in 2024

gambling laws in italy

The Italians love gambling. However, the industry only became legal in the 1900s. The stringent gambling regulations allow locals and foreigners to enjoy safe and responsible various forms of gaming in “The Peninsula.”

Since its legalization, Italy has made various amendments to its legal betting framework to accommodate the evolving market and the players’ needs, such as online gambling and sports betting.

Italy has a rich gambling culture, with the market becoming Europe’s most significant revenue contributor in 2019, at €18.1 billion. Such feats might not be possible without these robust laws.

Gambling is Legal in Italy Visualizer

There are two main regulating bodies/frameworks in Italy’s gambling scene. These are:

  • Codeci Civil,
  • Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM)

Let us see how Italy’s gambling has evolved and how the existing regulatory bodies have influenced the country’s gambling market.

An Overview of Italy’s Gambling Laws

Due to various law amendments and additions, Italy has among the world’s most complex and robust legal gambling frameworks. These legal provisions can be confusing, especially for new players.

Many factors contribute to the consistently changing landscape of Italy’s gambling laws, such as political implications, modern technologies, and the profitability potential of gambling products.

The following sections shall provide an overview of Italy’s gambling laws to explore the existing bodies governing the industry and their changes and updates.

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Did You Know?

Italy defines Gambling as “games in which the purpose of profit occurs, and the win or loss is entirely or almost entirely random.”

– Article 721 of Italy’s Penal Code

The Penal Code, enacted in 1930, clearly defines what constitutes gambling in Italy. However, this definition only applies to land-based gambling since online gambling did not exist back then.

Italy’s government legalized online gambling in 2011 under the ADM decree, defining it as: “any virtual solitary game where outcomes have a pre-arranged and fixed chance of happening.”

General Amendments to Italy’s Gambling Laws

The evolving landscape of gambling necessitated the Italian government to amend its framework to legalize various forms of gaming, which were previously not included in their betting framework.

Timeline of amendments to Italy’s gambling laws
  • 2006: Laws allowed companies to provide betting services in retail stores and via the Internet. 
  • 2007: Italy’s government amended the Finance Act, which legalized “Games of Skill,” such as Poker and Backgammon.
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Did You Know?

Backgammon is among the most popular and the oldest dice games worldwide. The game made its mark in Italian gaming history when a famous painter named Caravaggio illustrated in his artwork “I Bari” from 1594.

famous painter named Caravaggio
  • 2011: Casinos, online poker, and sports betting fully commenced under licenses given by the AAMS. This change allowed foreign online gambling operators to provide services in Italy. 
  • 2012: The last amendment allowed slot machine gaming halls to operate in Italy. These, of course, are still subject to Italian licensing. 

The following section will discuss the primary regulating bodies of Italy’s gambling industry: the AAMS and the ADM. They keep the gambling industry safe and thriving.

Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato (AAMS): Regulating the Italian Gambling Scene

Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato (AAMS)

The Italian government created the Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato (AAMS) in 2006 under Legislative Decree No. 223 to serve as the country’s gambling regulator.

The AAMS’ main task is to regulate and supervise gambling activities within the country. It also ensures compliance and proper operator licensing, which the entity started doing in 2010.

Italy’s Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), through the AAMS, manages the gaming and betting competitions within the country. 

The AAMS and the Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM or Customs and Monopolies Agency) work hand-in-hand. The unison guarantees the legality and safety of amusement machines.

To protect minors and players from addiction
To safeguard public order, security, and morality
To protect consumers against unfair commercial practices 
To guard players from misleading advertising.

AAMS achieves these goals by following its key responsibilities:

Constantly auditing operators 
By having constant access to the servers of casinos with licenses
Ensuring that players have access to responsible gaming tools

Offshore operators from the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) can apply for Italian licenses. Internet licenses only have a validity of nine (9) years. 

There are 200 licenses available in the Italian Market, which AAMS oversees. Internet licenses can have the following extensions: 

  • Instant and Deferred Draw Lotteries
  • Card Games like Poker
  • National Pari-Mutuel Numeric games
  • Lotto and other associated games
  • Sports betting, such as Horse Races
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Side Note

Obtaining a gambling license is quite a costly acquisition. Depending on some factors, a permit could cost between $20,000 to $120,000

In Italy, the AAMS is a trustworthy source of online casino regulations. The country acknowledged the AAMS as a strict government institution that makes harsh penalties for breaches of contracts. 

The penalties for noncompliance include fines and criminal charges. It upholds a high financial standard for gambling operators to ascertain that the players’ money is safe and secure. 

Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM): Italy’s Gambling Enforcer

Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM)

Italy established the Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (Customs and Monopolies Agency) in 2018 under Legislative Decree No.100. The AMD is the National Gaming Authority of Italy. 

The ADM operates under Italy’s MEF and is internally organized into different departments, each dealing with various gambling products. The AAMS is among the ADM’s notable departments. This institution aims to minimize the presence of illegal gambling in Italy. To do this, the ADM checks and verifies traders’ and licensees’ compliance with the gambling market.

ADM Functions and Responsibilities

The following are ADM’s responsibilities:

Issuing licenses and supervising the compliance and performance of licensees
Monitoring the offers of gambling services
Enforcing regulatory provisions in different games
Dealing with illegal gambling
Collecting taxes 

The ADM imposes differing licensing regulations for land-based and online gambling. 

Gambling License Regulations under the ADM

Italy’s gambling license is valid for nine (9) years. The ADM imposes the Stability Law (2016) for all land-based gambling licenses. The minimum license bids are the following:

  • €32,000 for a gaming shop license
  • €18,000 for betting corners
Requirement for Online Gambling License

A different set of regulations for online gambling apply when acquiring licenses. Gambling operators in the European Economic Area (EEA) can apply for an ADM license if:

  • They have a turnover of €1.5 million in the last two years.
  • They follow the standard requirements of the ADM.
  • Non-gaming companies must pay €1.5 million as a bond. 

Gambling Tax Rates in Italy under the ADM

The Italian government requires gambling operators to pay additional taxes for different games. The following are the tax rates imposed by the ADM on the various forms of gambling in Italy. 

1. Sports Betting4.5% on gross gaming revenue
2. Casinos20% on gross profits
3. Bingo (and other Games of Chance)11% on gross invoices.

The ADM is the national agency tasked with overseeing gambling activities in Italy. Its regulations anchor different legal frameworks affecting the country’s betting industry.

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Fun Fact

Bingo players have created funny nicknames for the numbers. For example, when a Bingo announcer draws the number 60, they may call it “Grandma Gets A Frisky,” referring to how most women retire at that age.

Various statutes and decrees govern Italy’s gambling industry. These regulations shape the entire scene in many ways and create a safe space conducive to its players. 

Italy was the first EU member state to extensively legalize, license, and regulate online gambling in 2006, contributing to its rankings among the top gambling countries worldwide.

Let’s delve into the various codes and decrees enforced in Italy to learn how the country develops and maintains a robust, safe, and productive gambling system.

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Side Note

Italy shares the same approach as France in terms of gambling rules and regulations. The similarities come in how the French government employs several regulatory bodies to manage certain sectors of its gambling industry.

  1. Codeci Civil (The Italian Civil Code)

The Codeci Civil is a collection of gambling regulations in Italy. The government enacted the latest version of the law in March 1942. Its preceding version, passed in 1865, was amended during the post-war period. 

Article 1933 of the Code states that gambling debts are not enforceable. Even when the creditor/operator is licensed, the platform cannot take legal action against someone who failed to pay a gambling debt. 

  1. Article 718 of the Penal Code

The Italian Penal Code of 1930 is called the “Rocco Code.” The code originated from the name of Mussolini’s Minister of Justice, Alfredo Rocco, when the code commenced.

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Side Note

Benito Mussolini was a notorious dictator who founded the National Fascist Party and led Italy’s forces during World War II.

The dictator was among the key individuals responsible for countless atrocities that shaped various laws worldwide, including that of Poland, due to his association with Adolf Hitler.

According to Article 718, anyone who facilitates gambling in public and private spaces will face these penalties: 

  • Jail time of three months to one year
  • A fine of not less than €206.

This code remains a controversial and divisive regulation in Italy due to its fascist roots, with reformists unsure which parts of the code to revise

  1. TULPS Royal Decree No. 773/1931 

The Italian government enforced the Testo Unico delle Leggi Pubbliche di Sicurezza (TULPS) on June 18, 1931 (Royal Decree No. 773) to deal with public safety regulation in Italy.

The TULPS, or Consolidated Act of Public Safety Laws, includes laws relating to various topics about public safety and security, including:

  • Public Safety Order
  • Control of Public Places 
  • Gambling and Betting Licenses
  • Entertainment Machines
  1. The Legislative Decree n. 496/1948

Decree No 496/1948 permits the use of concessionaires, aside from the State, to organize and operate gambling activities. Two articles under this decree go towards regulating gambling.

ARTICLE 1 Declares that the State monopolizes games of skills and chance. Especially if there is a payment for participation and a cash stake is required to join. 
ARTICLE 2States that only the Ministry of Finance can organize the games referred to in Article 1. The MEF also manages such games directly or through a legal appointee.
  1. Finance Law 1996

Article 3 of the Finance Law of 1996 states only the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) can authorize the establishment of Totalizators and Fixed-odd bets. Bettors can make concessions if the following can offer adequate guarantees:

  • Individuals
  • Companies
  • Other Entities
  1. The Decree of the President of the Republic (DPR) No. 33/2002

Italy’s DPR mandates the State to handle the gaming and betting competitions, which it achieves through the efforts of the MEF and primarily managed by the AAMS.

The AAMS, which the state established by the Royal Decree-Law no. 2258/1927, has taken over the management of: 

  • National Lotteries (in 1988)
  • Lotto and Instant Lotteries (in 1994)
  • Bingo (in 2000)
Visual infographics of AAMS management scope

The AAMS also collaborates with the Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM). The latter is responsible for the legality and safety of amusement machines.

  1. The “Bersani Decree”

The Bersani Decree was initially known as Law Decree No. 223/2006 before being converted into Law No. 248/2006. It opened sports betting (specifically horse racing) to national and foreign operators. 

The Bersani Decree also introduced new types of games (skill games), such as: 

  • Draughts
  • Chess
  • Bridge
  • Poker
  • Texas Hold’em

Gamblers can only access these games through online sites authorized by the ADM and its concessionaires.

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Side Note

Through the Bersani Decree, Italy’s online started to flourish as more bettors had access to online gambling platforms. The influx led to newly registered accounts, which meant more welcome bonuses for the bettors.

  1. Law no. 88/2009

Under Law No. 88/2009’s Article 24 (paragraphs 12-26), online gaming and betting provisions are clearly defined. These frameworks deal with: 

  1. Sports competitions and horse racing predictions
  2. Totalizator bets and fixed odds sports events
  3. National horse racing games
  4. Games of skill
  5. Online Bingo
  6. Fixed odd bets with direct interaction from players
  7. National totalizer number games
  8. Instant and deferred lotteries
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Helpful Article

Italy’s love for horse racing shows how its regulations cater to the sport and make it accessible for enthusiasts nationwide.
Horse racing is beloved worldwide due to the exciting and intense nature of the sport. Check out this link to discover awesome facts and figures about horse racing and see why people love seeing horses race.

The abovementioned decrees and laws are the foundations for Italy’s thriving gambling landscape, shaping the market into one of the world’s consistently biggest betting industries.

The following section explores the state of Italy’s gambling industry in 2024, highlighting key facts and figures like revenue growth, global rankings, and factors that contribute to the country’s success.

The State of Italy’s Gambling Industry in Recent Years

When done right, any gambling market is sure to become a profitable sector for any country, boosting the economy and, at the same time, providing jobs and entertainment to its people. 

Italy’s open and competitive gambling market has attracted investors and gamblers to place their stakes wholeheartedly in the scene, leading to billions of euros circulating in the country.

The Growth of Italy’s Gambling Industry in the 2020s

Graph on the projected growth of Italy’s gambling market

Economists valued the Italian gambling market in 2022 at €20.95 billion, which the analysts foresee to generate around €28.68 billion by 2028, a 4.0038% CAGR from 2022 – 2028.

Italy’s gaming scene peaked in 2022 when it reached €136.07 billion in total bets placed. The country recorded the second-highest total bets in 2021, with €111.18 billion. 

In 2020, Italy’s betting market had a 20.1% decrease in GGR from 2019, generally attributed to COVID-19. The market bounced back strong the following year and achieved a record-breaking feat. 

2015€88.2 billion 
2016€96.18 billion
2017€101.76 billion
2018€106.85 billion 
2019€110.46 billion 
2020€88.25 billion
2021€111.18 billion
2022€136.07 billion

The region of Lombardy produced the highest wagers in the retail gambling scene among the Italian regions in 2021, with total bets amounting to around €8.6 billion that year.

Italy’s iGambling Industry

The online gambling market in Italy is among the biggest in the world. In 2021, Italy’s online gambling made €4.105 billion in revenue. It ranks fourth place among other countries.

Italy Online Gambling Revenue Global Rankings

Italy’s online sports betting GGR rose significantly from 2020 to 2021, growing by almost 438% from €21 million in April 2020 to €113 million in June 2021.In April 2020, Italy’s online gambling GGR amounted to €21 million, a notable decline compared to the preceding month of March, with a revenue of €49 million.

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Side Note

Crash gambling is among the most popular games to emerge in the online and crypto gambling scene in the 2010s. The game involves easy game mechanics and good winning odds.

Many platforms offer various types of Crash, some with better features and RTPs for players. Check this link to discover the best Crash Gambling sites in 2024.

Figures Behind Italy’s Sports Betting in the 2020s

Despite the damaging effects of COVID-19, sports betting resumed in May 2020. The segment’s revenue recovered by June 2020 and peaked in May 2021 at €154 million. The next month, the segmentation revenue reached €113 million.Statistics behind the sports betting sector within the European region displayed a total value of $23 billion in 2021. Italy occupies the third spot among the most significant market sizes in the area.

United Kingdom23%€4.8 billion
France 20%€4.28 billion
Italy 10%€2 billion

The Prominence of Lotteries in Italy

Italy boasts the second-biggest market for Lotteries worldwide. In 2021 alone, the Lottery industry reached a value of €6.01 billion, around 6% of the global market size

Here is the breakdown of Italy’s lottery market size and value over the years.  

2017€6.1 billion
2018€6.1 billion
2019€6.0 billion
2020€5.1 billion
2021€6.6 billion

Italy’s Gambling Demographic

Pie graph on betting frequency on Italian players

A study revealed that 57% of Italians gamble in sports betting monthly. 55% of them bet every week.  With such numbers, it is undeniable that the Italians indeed love to gamble. However, the government must watch out for gambling addiction problems.

A study revealed that 36.4% of Italians had gambled in 2020. Of those numbers, studies claimed that around 3% were struggling with gambling problems.

The numbers may not look alarming at first. However, harmful gambling is still a huge problem for any country to face due to the grave mental, physical, and financial implications behind the issue.

Gambling Forms Available in Italy

Gambling Forms Available in Italy

There are various gambling activities for bettors and visitors who want to try their luck in Italy’s legal gambling hubs. The games below are deemed legal based on Italy’s legal gambling framework.

Italian gambling legislations divide gaming into two primary categories: land-based and online gambling. These two have specific games that are categorized under their jurisdiction.

The following games fall under land-based gambling:

  1. Terrestrial Casinos
  2. Sports and Horse Race Betting
  3. Slot Machines and Video-Lotteries
  4. Pool Betting
  5. Bingo
  6. Lotto (and Lotteries in general)

Online gambling can refer to the following games:

  1. Sports Betting
  2. Virtual and Live Betting
  3. Pool Betting
  4. Poker and other card games
  5. Slots, Roulette, and other casino games
  6. Games of Skill (including Poker tournaments)
  7. Bingo
  8. Betting Exchange
  9. Online Lotteries
  10. Horse Race Betting
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Fun Fact

Crypto Mines is among the most popular online gambling games emerging in the crypto betting scene in Italy (and worldwide) in recent years.

The Mines game takes the nostalgia and simple gameplay of the classic Minesweeper with the complex and thrilling world of blockchain gambling.


Italy is notable for having some of the world’s most prestigious and beautiful casinos. The country’s casino industry thrives, producing around €206.1 million in 2022. As of 2024, 38 licensed land-based gambling hubs and over 150 legal online casinos exist across Italy.

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Fun Fact

One of the biggest victories in the game of Roulette happened in Italy, specifically in Casino de la Vallee in Saint-Vincent, in 1963. The winner took home £27,000 after betting on 17 three times in a row.

The more interesting fact is that the guy who won was Sean Connery, an actor famous for playing James Bond.

Regarding physical casinos, Italy permits the establishment of brick-and-mortar establishments in its four notable areas:

  • San Remo
  • Saint Vincent
  • Campione d’Italia
  • Venice
Four Casinos in Italy

These casinos are under an informal regulatory regime that began in the 1930s during the Mussolini era. The informality gives the casinos a full license, regulated by their respective municipal authorities.

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Quick Tip

There are many tips for playing in a casino. However, one of the most crucial aspects is Research. Equipping oneself with necessary information about the games might save your hard-earned cash. 

Casinò di Campione

Built in 1917, Casinò di Campione is one of the earliest casinos in the world. The casino closed in January 2019 after bankruptcy but reopened on 26 January 2022 after 3 years of inactivity.The casino stands in Campione D’italia, 60 km from Milan and enclosed by Swiss territory. This aspect makes it an Italian exclave surrounded by Switzerland on Lake Lugano’s shores.


An exclave is a part of a state or district geographically separated from the country and surrounded by another alien territory.

This gambling haven hosts 2,000 residents and is a popular destination for gamblers from Europe and Asia due to minimal tax fees and the scenery that the city hub offers.

Campione D’italia is one of four places in Italy with a casino license. The government transferred the town to new premises designed by the Swiss architect Mario Botta in 2007.

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Fun Fact

Italy is home to the oldest casino in the world, the Casinò di Venezia, located in Ca’ Vendramin Calergi, Venice. The facility was constructed in 1638, initially as the Theatre Saint Moses.

The doors of Casinò di Venezia are still open for gamblers and visitors worldwide as of 2024, offering the top games like Blackjack, Slots, Roulette, Poker, and Baccarat.

The casino offers the following features: 

🏨 Privé Room– Perfect for small meetings or conferences. It can accommodate up to 150 people.
– Located on the 4th floor
🏨 Terrace– A nice view of Lake Lugano
– Ideal for appointments of up to 30 people.
🏨 Room Seven– Refined and equipped environment for any event, with a breathtaking view of Lake Lugano. 
– It has a capacity of 220 seats.
🏨 Panoramic Party Hall – Suits any celebration or important events
– Located on the ninth and top floor is an immense light space accommodating up to 600 people.


Italy loves Bingo. The country plays the game in Bingo halls regulated by the Ministerial Decree no. 29, enforced in January 2000. The first Bingo hall in Italy opened in Treviso in 2021. 

The game is among Italy’s most popular and iconic games, and they have even developed a type of Bingo called Tombola, which employs 90 numbers.

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Did You Know?

Experts believe Bingo originated in Italy in the 16th century from the Italian lottery, “Il Gioco del Lotto d’Itali.” The original Bingo mechanics was far more straightforward. Participants chose numbers that matched the winning digit drawn from a drum. 

However, the term “Bingo” had a simpler history, originating from the word “Beano” since players used beans to mark their numbers on the cards.

Currently, there are about 250 Bingo facilities open in Italy. Here are Italy’s top five regions based on the amount of Bingo Halls in its autonomy:

  1. Sicily: 28
  2. Lombardy: 25
  3. Campania: 25
  4. Lazio: 25
  5. Emilia-Romagna: 19

For online bingo, the total wagers by players peaked in 2021 at €275 million, a €23 million increase compared to 2020. Of this number, the segment had a €67 million GGR in 2021, the highest record since 2013.

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Did You Know?

Players can draw countless winning combinations to achieve the coveted “BINGO!” For 75-Ball, there is a possibility of 552 septillion card combinations. The 30-Ball Bingo has an estimated 1.7 million possible number combinations. 

Players can draw countless winning combinations to achieve the coveted “BINGO!” For 75-Ball, there is a possibility of 552 septillion card combinations. The 30-Ball Bingo has an estimated 1.7 million possible number combinations. 

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Did You Know?

Slot Machines work on a system called a Random Number Generator (RNG). This system enables mathematical randomness within the game with every spin.

Physical and online casinos that are licensed utilize the RNG to ensure that their slot games are transparent, fair, and consistently unpredictable.


Italy’s Lottery industry is among the most productive gambling products worldwide. In 2022, statistics behind Italy’s Lottery scene highlighted the country’s massive GGR, with the Lottery ranking second, with €2.9 billion.

The country offers different modes of lotteries for its players, with various decrees regulating each variant. 

Here are the modes of Lotteries in Italy and their corresponding decrees:

  1. Instant Lotteries: Ministerial Decree No. 183, which the state enacted in February 1991
  2. Deferred-Draw Lotteries: Law No. 772, dated August 1955.
    1. Amended to Law No. 62 in March 1990
    2. Amended again to Law No. 200 in August 2003.

A player must fill out the online entry like in any lottery ticket to join. Even foreigners can try their luck in the Italian lotteries. 

Sports Betting and Fixed Odds Betting

Sports betting became legal in Italy after Ministerial Decree No. 111 in 2006. The country regulates system-based fixed-odd betting under the ADM decree enacted in July 2016.  Currently, several types of sports betting are available in Italy:

  1. Horse Racing
  2. Football
  3. Tennis
  4. Basketball
  5. Motorsports 
  6. Cycling

As Italians fell in love with sports betting, the country’s sporting industry was bound to thrive due to the number of followers brought in by the sports betting scene, and vice-versa.With the further growth of Italy’s sports industry, sporting leagues benefit from increased bets and viewership. Football is Italy’s most famous sports betting competition, as it is in many countries.

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Side Note

Italy loves Football. Some of the world’s greatest Footballers came from “The Beautiful Country,” such as Paolo Maldini, Gianluigi Buffon, and Dino Zoff.

Another evidence of the Italians’ passion for the sport is Serie A, which belongs to the Italian football league system and is among the world’s top football leagues.

Lastly, the country is associated with one of the most recognizable and practiced strategies in football, the Catenaccio, made famous by Italian teams such as Inter Milan and Juventus.

Below are the most popular leagues and events people bet on:

  1. Football: Serie A Football
  2. Motorsports: Italian Grand Prix
  3. Tennis Tournaments: Italian Open
  4. Basketball Leagues: Lega Basket Serie A
  5. Cycling Races: Giro d’Italia
  6. Horse Racing: Palio di Siena and Gran Premio del Jockey Club
  7. Virtual Sports
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Did You Know?

Sports Betting is legal in almost 30 countries (and 44 US States) worldwide. Experts project the US sports wager market to produce a revenue of $155.49 billion by the end of 2024.

The Strict Enforcement of Gambling Laws in Italy

Italy has a stringent and complex legal framework for gambling stemming from many factors, such as the country’s comprehensive political history, ever-growing economy, and desire to adapt to modern technologies.

With such an intricate system, the country ensures that its betting population experiences a safe and secure gaming session and that the bettors practice responsible gambling.

The following topics highlight how Italy regulates its bettors, such as:

  • Penalties imposed on perpetrators
  • Gambling-related arrests in Italy
  • Legal betting age.

Notable Incidents of Gambling-Related Arrests in Italy

Although gambling is prevalent and practiced liberally in Italy, there are still incidents wherein individuals and groups circumnavigate the regulations to abuse the system.

Since the financial implications behind betting are massive, it attracts decent and malicious people. Some criminal groups try to exploit Italy’s rich gambling scene for their benefit.

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Sports and betting are two industries that go together well, as both invite the potential for significant earnings and massive wins.

Sadly, this financial implication is why sports corruption is ever-prevalent within those industries, with crime groups able to strong-arm the market since the old days.

Still, justice must prevail, especially regarding Italy’s complex but tight-knit gambling enforcement system. Below are examples of the vigilance of the country’s gambling law enforcers.

Italy’s Operation Game Over I


On February 1, 2018, around 23 people were arrested by the Italian authorities due to suspicions of association with the Cosa Nostra, the group notorious for being a gambling empire, among many things.

The most notable of the arrests from Italy’s Game Over operation was Benedetto “Ninni” Bacchi, dubbed the “Betting King,” who was charged with laundering money for the Mafia through 700+ betting shops.

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Fun Fact

Italian authorities designed Operation “Game Over” to shut down a powerful crime group in Palermo with various mafia-type crimes related to gambling, money laundering, fraud, and drug trafficking.

Police investigations discovered that the Malta-based company Phoenix Ltd managed Bacchi’s illegal betting operations. The court sentenced Ninni to 18 years in prison.

Italy’s Operation Game Over II

In December 2021, 12 individuals were caught operating illegal betting sites. Italian authorities stated that the suspects were part of a gambling ring by Maltese Operators that earned around $15.8 million a month.

The crime group operated illegal gambling sites such as Italbet365 and Colmatbet, both of which were linked to the Casa Nostra, which the police believe to be a part of the syndicate’s money laundering activities.

The Takedown of an Illegal Gambling and Money Laundering Group in 2022

In 2022, the Italian police apprehended over 71 people for illegal gambling and money laundering. They laundered dirty money through very complex betting systems in sports and gambling. 

Among the notable personalities that the authorities prosecuted were Giuseppe Carnovale, known as “Pepo” in the Mafia world, and Luigi Giuseppe Cirillo, the son of a late Mafia boss.

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Fun Fact

The world of underground organized crime continues to fascinate the world to the point that the global media has immortalized it in various forms.

Among the mediums these crime groups have been portrayed in are movies such as The Gambler and The Lady and Casino, the latter two of which are movies about gambling.

Betting Age Restriction in Italy

Betting Age Restriction

Like in any country, Italy also enforces strict age restrictions for its citizens regarding gambling activities. The government prohibits people under the age of 18 from betting.

The restriction applies to both land-based and online gambling.

Gambling Penalties in Italy

While Italy may have legalized betting, there are penalties for illegal gambling.

Gambling Penalties in Italy

According to Article 718 of the Penal Code, anyone who facilitates gambling in public places or private circles is punishable by 

  • A fine of not less than €206
  • A jail time of three months to one year. 

The Italian Civil Code also states that gambling debts cannot be enforced even by a licensed operator/creditor.


Italy’s gambling scene is very competitive, meaning players can choose from various good deals and services. This aspect creates a billion-euro industry that analysts foresee only growing bigger in time.

The competitiveness behind Italy’s betting market is partially rooted in its strict yet conducive gambling laws, which consistently aim to help its bettors have a fun and responsible gambling experience.

Undoubtedly, Italy is a must-visit country for gamblers due to its gambling laws and scene. The country offers prestigious casinos and competitive sports books, all behind a robust gambling system.


What is the biggest gambling company in Italy?

Italy’s leading operator, SISAL, has a range that includes lotteries, betting, online games, and entertainment devices. 

What rule is Italy under?

Italy was one of the first members of the EU and one of the first countries to use the euro on January 1, 1999.

What was the first casino in Italy?

The first gambling establishment, Ridotto, opened its doors in 1638, only to close in 1774.

What does casino mean in Italian?

The word casino originates from the Italian word casa, which means house. Casinos have a long history in Italy.