Most Popular Bookies in Italy

Italy and Italians are known for their love for fine things, giving their full hearts to whatever they do and daring in the face of great risk. Milan, the country's capital, is a major shopping destination in the world. Italian suits and clothing are major fashion statements. Italian restaurants dot all major cities. Their teams are often European and world champions.

This refined culture of Italians has formed a fertile ground for esports gaming. Teams like HSL Esports Italy, Samsung Morning Stars, and Team Forge are forces to reckon with in e-sports competitions across various disciplines. Thousands of fans follow Italian teams' games and competitions physically and over the internet. And they love to place bets on their teams too!

Most Popular Bookies in Italy

Italians are not alone in their newly-found love for esports. The wave has been going on around the world, fuelled in part by the Coronavirus pandemic. When the pandemic- which hit Italy harder than any other European nation- led to lockdowns, all physical sporting activity came to a sudden halt.

Locked at home with great uncertainty about life itself, esports stepped in to offer solace. Games like Fortnite, Dota, League of Legends (LoL), and Call of Duty became a way for people to distract themselves and maintain contact with the outside world.

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History of sports betting in Italy

History of sports betting in Italy

People in Italy have been playing all sorts of games and placing unregulated bets since as early as the 16th century. The prediction practice was, back then, not distinct from various forms of gambling that Italians practiced. The same people who pushed sports bets could be found offering what is today known as casino games.

To understand the current state of betting in Italy, and more specifically esport betting, it is important to understand where it all started.

History of gambling in Italy

The word 'casino' was actually born in Italy. As early as the 15th Century, Italians had invented the game that is today known as Baccarat. It is also in Italy that the game of bingo was first played. The risk-affinity of Italians mentioned earlier is not just a new construct.

A game known as Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum was popular during the age of the Roman Empire. Legionaries were very fond of it and ended up spreading it across Europe as they went on conquests. The game is still present today, known as Backgammon.

The first gambling house opened in Venice in 1638. They called it the Ridotto. It was sanctioned by the government and open to all people. However, the amounts required to place wagers were so high that it became a preserve of the rich. The government was, as a result, able to partly control gambling. However, people ended up playing in other unsanctioned outlets.

History of sports betting in Italy
Betting nowadays in Italy

Betting nowadays in Italy

Initial forms of modern betting were on horse races and later dog races. However, the one sport that led to a great spike in betting was football. The game, unlike others, was accessible to almost all people in the country. Many people played it and felt they understood it. As a result, they felt confident to bet on it.

Bets were offered by bookies, unregulated providers who created odds and sold them on the street written on books. Often, the bookies were part of gangs that ruled the streets. This necessitated government action to separate betting from crime. Steps to control began as a result of this.

At first, all forms of gambling were banned and strict crackdowns were executed. However, this proved to be of little help and the government began to explore licensing of betting providers.

The growth of soccer popularity in the country saw a surge in betting popularity too. Italy won the World Cup in 1934 and 1938, drawing a lot of fans and ingraining the sport in their DNA. Bookmarkers had a great time selling odds to the enthusiastic fans. That DNA has remained to date, with the recent Euro (2021) and World Cup (2006) triumphs stamping it further. Other sports like basketball, volleyball, swimming, and cycling are also wildly popular among fans and punters in Italy.

The future of sports betting in Italy

Italy's move to legalize all forms of sports betting has played a huge role in its regulations. Today, players can play safely in houses that do not violate the law. Moreover, the government earns revenue from betting providers in the country. The enabling legal environment spells a bright future for sports betting providers in the country.

Betting nowadays in Italy
Online betting

Online betting

For the past 12-15 years, online betting has been taking over from physical betting houses. The convenience of betting from a player's location and making payments online is satisfying. It has led to the growth of the number of people playing bets online.

It has also enabled live gaming where people bet on in-game events. This trend looks to continue evolving into the future. Live and 3D sampling, as well as simulation, will continue making online sports betting sites more popular.

The range of betting platforms and markets will also increase. Italian laws now allow people to bet in houses outside the country. More people will continue to flock to overseas providers and bet on games that are not traditionally popular in Italy.

Esports are taking a prominent role in sports betting going into the future. Increased and stronger internet connections in the 60-million people nation will also lead to an increased number of punters. Between 2020 and 2021, for instance, there was a 1.1 million growth in the number of people using the internet in Italy.

The government is also likely to take action to prevent online betting from getting out of hand. This new form of betting is still evolving; laws will need to evolve and adapt to it. For the next decade, the country will alter laws severally to control emerging forms of sports betting.

The availability of online esports betting has made betting easier. Punters can follow and bet on esports competitions and websites outside Italy. The relaxation of betting laws could not have come at a better time. Esports gaming/betting is among the very few industries that found a silver lining in the pandemic.

Online betting
Betting Acts in Italy

Betting Acts in Italy

Italy has always been wary of the betting practice getting out of hand. Given the country's history in regaining a derailed system, this is understandable. However, some of the country’s cautious measures have at times seen it at loggerheads with the outside world.

In 2006, members of the European Union (EU) raised a flag complaining that Italy was locking out from its borders licensed betting operators from the bloc. This, they said, violated the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) provisions. An inquest was made into the allegations.

Italy's defense that the action was taken in line with its criminal laws was found unconvincing. The country was found guilty of failing to report more than 600 websites that it had blacklisted. They were ordered to lift such restrictions.

Since then, the country has moved several acts to help betting providers operate legally in the country.

Finance Act, 2007

It moved to legalize card games that require skill to win. To keep them under control, the act provided that such games would be played as tournaments. All stakes placed during the game were set at the same amount as the fee charged to enter the tournament.

Texas Hold 'Em became legal as a result. Card games like Punto banco remained banned as they were considered to be dependent on luck rather than skill and strategy.

Comunitaria Decree, 2011

This law opened the door for poker and other casinos to be played for real money. The provision changed from taxing total revenue to subjecting profits only to tax. Poker and casino games were taxed 20%. Horse betting, lotteries, and other skill games were taxed 3% of the tickets and buy-ins that they sold to punters.

The fairer taxation regime brought in more providers. This made the market more competitive as players had more options. The result was an increased number of players and overall greater revenue earned by the government. Gamblers also benefited as the law required that the limit for a poker buy-in was $250, down from the initial $1100. This helped players to avoid overspending.

2020 Budget Law

This law was mainly focused on online gambling. It eyed betting, sports betting, lottery, casino games. Providers of all these betting services are required to obtain a local license in Italy even when they have the same from other EU countries.

There are definite windows provided in law when interested providers can submit their license applications. During the window, there are 40 licenses that providers can apply for. The lowest price for an online betting license is €2.5m ($283m).

Foreign providers from within the European Economic Area can apply for the license which goes for nine years and is not eligible for renewal. The law also upheld the ban on gambling sponsorship and advertising. Esport regulation is categorized under sports betting in the Budget law.

Betting Acts in Italy
Italy players' favorite games

Italy players' favorite games

Football (soccer) is by far the most popular sport in Italy. The country has a strong domestic league with several very competitive tiers. Its stars grace the biggest competitions in Europe. Gianluigi Donarruma, the national team goalkeeper was voted in the FIFA global XI in 2021 while midfielder Jorginho was in the running for the Ballon d 'Or, an individual footballer's ultimate recognition.

The country is the current champion of Europe (2020-24). These factors continue to make the sport most popular in the country among fans and bettors. Punters place bets both to show loyalty and to make competitions more interesting.

Basketball, cycling, volleyball, and swimming also enjoy relative popularity among punters. All these sports have produced big names on the global competitive scene.

Most adults in the country have grown up watching at least one of these games which are often aired live on Italian channels. Major tournaments are also held in the country, further attracting residents to enjoy the games. The familiarity boosts confidence to bet on these games.

More recently, e-sports disciplines are also pushing for their slice of the betting audience. FIFA leads in popularity followed closely by Overwatch. Formula 1 and Call of Duty are also popular among punters.

Italy players' favorite games
Payment methods in Italy

Payment methods in Italy

JP Morgan statistics show that most Italians use mobile payments and apps to make payments. Apps allow players to make deposits and withdrawals for their bank accounts and e-wallets with great convenience. As a result, many online casinos in the country are adopting mobile payments as a means to make deposits and withdraw winnings.

Betting sites' reports show that most players use cards to make transactions. The most popular cards are MasterCard and Visa. These are loved because of their general acceptance in most betting sites and other merchant sites.

They are safe, secure, and part of most Italians' everyday lives. Their connection to players’ bank accounts means that players can access funds to use in gaming sessions at any time of the day.

There is also remarkable use of e-wallets in the country. PayPal and Trustly are key players in this field. These methods have gained traction because of their low cost of transactions. In most online casinos, depositing from e-wallets is free. They are also fast in both deposits and withdrawals.

Their provision of converting currencies in real-time makes them even more convenient. Major e-wallets have also established regional support centers that help players to solve arising issues with swiftness and conclusively.

Payment methods in Italy


Is sports betting legal in Italy?

Yes, Italy allows players to bet on sports with providers that have a valid license in the country

What is the minimum betting age in Italy?

The AAMS requires that betting sites only allow punters of 18 years of age and over.

Where can one bet on Sports in Italy?

There are a few physical sportsbooks in different cities. Online betting is the most popular, possible in both local and overseas sites that have a license. Some players use VPNs to access unlicensed sites but this exposes them to an unsafe betting environment.

Is sports betting taxed in Italy?

Players are not taxed when they win. The government earns revenue from the tax on the betting providers' profits.

Which are the most popular sports to bet on in Italy?

Football (soccer), basketball, volleyball, cycling, FIFA, and Overwatch are the most popular sports among punters.

What is the future of sports betting in Italy?

The popularity of soccer betting will continue. E-sports will get a big chunk of punters too. The government will keep changing gaming laws to fit new online betting models.

Can one bet on overseas betting sites?

Yes, but the law requires that such sites have a license from the AAMS