As many would expect, given the level of popularity of sports throughout the country, sports betting is completely legal and extremely popular in Italy.
However, it has taken investigations by the European Commission and changes to laws to bring the Italian betting market in-line with other leading European nations.
There are strict requirements that must be met before a betting company can gain an Italian gambling licence, although foreign operators can provide full betting services once the licence is granted.
Here, we take a look at the betting industry in Italy and name a few popular local bookmakers.
Italian Betting Laws
Gambling in Italy is seen as a criminal offence and punishment can be anything from a fine to a prison sentence. However, sports betting is classified as a game of skill rather than down to luck and is therefore legal in the country.
Prior to 2006, only state selected operators could provide betting services, but the European Commission investigated this following a complaint made in 2003. The EC found Italy to be in violation of EU laws and change was forced through.
Italian authorities notified the European Commission of these changes in 2009 and new laws were introduced in March 2010. Under these laws, foreign operators can provide online betting services as long as they have been granted a licence from the AAMS (Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato).
Operators must meet stringent criteria to qualify for an online gambling licence. These criteria require the operator to be based in the EU, have a turnover of at least €1.5 million in Europe over the last two years, to provide easy-to-use, secure, and stable services, have reliable administration members, and they also must pay €350,000 to the AAMS for technical support and supervision.
Because of the law changes, major betting companies such as William Hill and Paddy Power now operate their services within the Italian sports betting market.
Popular Local Bookies
As of a survey carried out last year, Bet 365 were the leading online betting operator in Italy with around 33% of the market share. Next in the list were Eurobet, with under 10% of the market share, and they were followed by Sisal and Snai.
Eurobet is an off-shoot of the Ladbrokes Coral Group and offer the same type of service you would expect to find at Ladbrokes or Coral in the United Kingdom.
Sisal is an Italian company, established in 1945 in Milan and were the first private company in Italy to operate in the gambling industry.
They have several thousand retail outlets across the country as well as providing an excellent online sports betting service, with markets available for all major sports and sporting events.
Snai are another leading Italian betting and gaming company, who have around 1,600 points of sale for collecting bets throughout the country. Their online sports betting service offers the best markets from all major sports.
Other operators that can be found among the leading providers of sports betting services in Italy are Goldbet, Betaland, and Lottomatica. Customers will also be able to find more well-known operators such as Betfair, Sky Bet, 888, and Pokerstars in the Italian market.
Popular Football Competitions in Italy
The biggest football competition in Italy is without doubt Serie A, the top division of the Italian football league.
Officially founded in 1898, Serie A has now been running for 120 years and is ranked as the second strongest national league in the world by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS).
Fans from different nations tune in every week to watch world-famous teams such as Juventus, Milan, Inter, and Lazio fight it out to reach the top of the Italian football league.
The Copa Italia is the biggest cup competition in Italy, with the winners of this tournament playing the Serie A champions every year in the Italian Super Cup.
Juventus are the most successful team in Italy, with thirty-three Serie A titles and twelve Copa Italia trophies to date.
Italian teams also have a rich history in European competitions, with Italy producing the highest number of finalists in the history of the European Cup/Champions League. This means that the Champions League and Europa League are popular among sports betting customers.
Looking at markets available on Italian betting websites, you can also see that domestic competitions from England, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, France, and Belgium are listed as ‘top leagues’. International football also ranks high in the list of popular football competitions to bet on, although Italy failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup may have decreased that popularity a little.