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Italy’s black market for online gambling generates annual GGR of nearly €1bn, according to the latest estimates from the European Betting & Gaming Association (EGBA).

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This figure is equivalent to the regulated online gambling revenue of eight other EU countries, based on H2 Gambling Capital figures from 2021.

According to the EGBA, Italy’s black market generates the same amount of online GGR as Croatia (€170m), Cyprus (€100m), Estonia (€150m), Latvia (€180m), Lithuania (€140m), Luxembourg (€30m), Malta (€70m) and Slovenia (€60m) combined.

According to a recent report by La Gazzetta dello Sport, bettors in Italy wager more than €25bn each year on the black market, with 75% of that, or €18.5bn, spent online.

Italy’s Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM), which regulates gambling in the country, has taken action by blocking more than 9,800 unlicensed gambling websites this year already.

That number is already 400 more than were blocked in 2022, which the EGBA believes highlights the increasing scale of the problem.

The Brussels-based trade association said the protection of customers is its key priority and it stands against websites that target the EU market but fail to provide consumer protection.

The organisation has called on Italian authorities to do more to raise awareness among consumers about the risks associated with using unlicensed operators.

“The significant size of Italy’s online black market is concerning, yet it is not surprising given that Italy has one of Europe’s strictest advertising regimes for its licensed gambling companies,” said EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer.

“The country’s ban on advertising for licensed gambling operators is clearly favouring the black market.

“Without a sufficient level of advertising, there is no real way for Italians to tell the difference between a gambling website which is licensed in Italy – and applies the country’s consumer protection rules – and one that is not.

“It is evident that enforcement action against black market operators is not sufficient, and that the government needs to revise its advertising rules for gambling to ensure Italian citizens can be well-informed about the licensed websites in the country,” he added.

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