The Italian government announced its intention to recognize and regulate esports, following the controversial seizures of equipment at venues across the country. The Customs and Monopolies Agency had confiscated equipment from esports and gaming bars/hubs in late April following a complaint that required the agency to “verify compliance of taxation on gambling and with regard to the correct application of the legislation aimed at the protection and health of minors. Italian law classifies LAN equipment in the same vein as gambling, slot, and arcade machines.”
Following the controversy, the Italian government has confirmed that it will seek to introduce legislation that will include the establishment of an esports federation.
“The government is considering, in concert with the CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee), the establishment of a federation that oversees the organization of competitive sports gaming,” said Federico Freni, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. “The government wants to specify, given the extraordinary importance of the sector, that all evaluations are underway for the most appropriate regulatory initiatives to ensure effective and stable regulation of the sector in a reasonable time, recognizing an autonomous relevance of the devices without winning money. The government reserves the right to evaluate the appropriateness of all the initiatives undertaken so far.”
Many Italian gamers and organizations cheered the “positive news,” including the Italian Federation for Electronic Disciplines, which said the recognition of esports would support the development and sustainability of the esports and gaming sector.
The Italian Federation for Electronic Disciplines is a member of both the International Esports Federation and the Global Esports Federation.
(All information was provided by Inside The Games)