Italy Launching Gaming Tracking App to Help Stop Black Market Gambling

Posted on: November 4, 2021, 11:17h. 

Last updated on: November 4, 2021, 11:38h.

Italy’s Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM) has announced the launch of a new app that will provide all information about land-based and online licensed gambling operators to the public. The government hopes the app will help stop black-market gambling activity.

Marcello Minenna, Italy, Custom's director, anti-mafia
Marcello Minenna, the head of Italy’s Customs and Monopolies Agency, seen above. Minenna has facilitated the introduction of a new mobile app that provides access to information on regulated gaming companies in the country. (Image: Imagoeconomica – Daniele Scudieri)

The app, named “Gioco sicuro,” will be available in the IOS and Android stores starting sometime this month.

According to the ADM, the app, whose name translates to “Safe Gaming,” will allow citizens of Italy to verify compliance with all non-dedicated outlets. It will also provide the licensing status of all gaming products.

ADM Director-General Marcello Minienna authorized the development of the apps, which are intended to protect Italian gamblers from mafia-run gambling network threats. Minenna has said his biggest priority is fighting Italy’s black market operations.

ADM is one of five entities that support the country’s tax program.

Bring Down the Mob

Minienna was appointed head of the ADM in 2019, following the fallout from federal police and the anti-mafia unit’s Glassia Investigation. That found more than €1 billion ($1.155 billion) worth of assets linked to illegal gambling.

Minenna was appointed by former President Giuseppe Conte to oversee the ADM’s supervision of the gambling sector and combat corruption.

As many land-based casinos in Italy feel the pressure of COVID-19 closures, organized crime in the country has grown, according to officials in the country. spoke to a former senator, Gianfranco Pasquino, earlier this year, who asserted that organized crime was taking advantage of the pandemic and casino shutdowns.

Federico Cafiero De Rao, the national anti-mafia prosecutor, believes that Italy’s black market is worth more than €20 billion ($23 billion). He has stated in press conferences that this indicator is worrisome, as it shows how prolific the mafia is at infiltrating almost any industry.

More Restrictions Likely to Come

Italy introduces a new mobile tool designed to give individuals in the country access to data on the status of gaming operators, including whether they are licensed. It also provides a mechanism to more easily report questionable activity to regulators and authorities.

Italy has repeatedly attempted to reduce the influence organized crime has on the country. There have been a number of high-profile raids and seizures, particularly in the past three years.

Despite obvious threats, the Italian government has maintained its restrictive approach to governing licensed operators in the country. Companies are required to follow strict compliance procedures regarding player verifications. There is also a blanket ban on advertising that has been in place for the past few years.

Italian gambling stakeholders wait to see if the government will add gambling amendments to the 2022 Budget Law as a measure to further enhance the regulated market. This legislation’s composition is critical for Italian gambling.

The ADM must review concessions at 10,000 retail outlets/venues. This will impact the local operators working under brands such as Snaitech Lottomatica, Sisal, Eurobet and others.

Organized Crime Still in Control

In spite of multiple attempts at cracking down on organized crime, Italy is still dealing with a number of problems, especially in the gaming market. Earlier this year, a major law enforcement action utilized serious resources to investigate hundreds of individuals suspected of being involved in illegal gambling.

Of the group, 23 were near the top of the list as the biggest offenders, and all had alleged ties to the Cosa Nostra mob. Police seized over $95 million in assets, and over 355 people were ultimately snared in the investigation. However, as large as the bust was, a trial involving the ‘Ndrangheta crime family is even larger.