Italy to Create National eSports Federation
Italy’s government has confirmed that it is to recognize and regulate the eSports industry following highly controversial seizures of equipment from numerous venues across the country last month.
The Customs and Monopolies Agency said that the seizures came after a complaint that required it 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.”
Under existing Italian law, local area network (LAN) equipment is classified similarly to that of gambling, slot, and arcade machines.
In a statement, the Agency said that the seizures were “to ascertain compliance with the regulations currently in force, with the aim of protecting their own operators in the market of LAN rooms that make gaming equipment available legally and responsibly.”
Now the government has said that it will aim to introduce legislation that will include the creation of an eSports federation. The undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Federico Freni, said that the organization is holding discussions about a national governing body with the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI).
The Government is considering, in concert with the CONI, the establishment of a federation that oversees the organization of competitive sports gaming. 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.
The news has been welcomed by the Italian Federation for Electronic Disciplines, which said that the recognition of eSports would support the development of the local industry.