The Italian authorities are trying to formally regulate and recognise esports, in accordance with Italy’s Undersecretary of Finance Federico Freni.
This comes shortly after the Italian esports neighborhood was shaken by the end of April, when the native Customs and Monopolies Agency (Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli) seized all tools from a number of gaming and esports venues throughout the nation.
The reason publicly given by the Agency for the seizures was that the affected businesses were not compliant with Italian regulations. However, the existing Italian regulations classified LAN video gaming equipment under iGaming equipment like gambling, slot and arcade machines.
The move by the Agency was reportedly motivated mainly by slot machine business owners, who asked why LAN rooms and esports bars that provide gaming equipment as a service were not taxed or registered on the same terms. This resulted in gaming PCs, consoles, peripherals, and even driving simulators being seized and classified as not regular gear.
While the French president highlights esports as the world of opportunities it is, old Italian structures have acted to hold its market back. Thankfully, what started as a backward step for Italian esports has now blossomed into a much-needed opportunity to move forward.
The lack of specific regulations has up till now been a challenge for Italian esports venues to promote events. New esports-specific regulations will bring more investments into the scene as traditional brands and entrepreneurs will now feel more secure about future esports financing opportunities. This is a changing moment for Italian esports.