Italian poker sites
Italian law differentiates games of luck from those that require skill. Therefore, playing online poker in Italy is entirely legal, but they have a closed pool of players, so residents can only play against other local players.
From gambling laws to renowned Italian poker sites and popular payment methods, you'll find out all about the Italian poker landscape in this review.
Online Poker in Italy
These days, Italian gambling regulations are reasonably agreeable. However, this wasn't the case before. Players were comfortable joining the rooms as they pleased.
Today, Italy is one of the few countries with a ring-fenced market. So playing online from Italy is entirely legal.
Still, Italians can only play at locally regulated poker rooms, unlike other European countries that combine player pools or allow players to venture onto global networks. Unfortunately, for players residing in other countries, these sites remain inaccessible. Though the regulations are reasonably poker-friendly, Italians have a handful of options for participating in poker games
Online poker legal background
Before the online poker regulations in Italy, local grinders played the virtual game at ease with no hassles or concerns. It was not until 2001 the Italian law no. 383/01 was brought to effect and empowered Agenzia delle dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM), the sole regulatory authority of all gambling activities in the country.
As long as the online operator has a valid Italian gambling license & a signed agreement from the administration, they can carry out the business freely.
The Italian government decided to regulate the gambling industry by imposing taxes to curb the revenue flowing out of the country. The introduction of the Finance Act, 2007 led to the legalization of poker tournaments (excluding cash games) and other skill-based games. Eventually, in 2011 the lawmakers permitted cash games, MTT and STT, for the Italian players listed in the ADM Director Decree.
Today, players must pay a 20% tax rate, specifically tournament and rake fees on cash games. Besides, the operators have to pay a tax of 35% on the total tournament buy-ins sold.
Closed liquidity poker market
In Italy, land-based gambling like bingo, sports betting, lotto, and traditional casinos are dealt separately from online gambling, including online poker, online lotteries, and online casino games. However, both online and offline poker operators require a valid gambling license from the ADM.
With the new directives, the Italian ISPs blocked the offshore sites and cut off the non-licensed providers in the country. While the legal framework allowed Italian players to enjoy online poker at regulated sites, the limited number of operators led to shrinking poker traffic.
To boost online table games, Italy was one of the first promoters of shared liquidity with other European countries & the ADM presented the framework for shared player pools with Portugal, France and Spain at the meeting.
As a result, they signed the agreement on 6th July 2017, and the formal execution took place in Rome. However, while France, Spain, and Portugal took the lead and implemented, Italy has yet to make progress.
The situation in Italy is a bit complicated. While there are further licensing delays, many gaming industry insiders have voiced their concerns that the shared liquidity deal would weaken the Italian gaming policies and less protection for the local players. Another reason for the delay in the liquidity sharing is the objection from local politicians with their concerns on international money laundering.
However, despite the objections, many online gambling operators are moving towards acquiring an Italian license considering the unrivaled popularity of poker in the country.
Italian players make approximately 20% of the global gambling community despite the ring-fenced poker market and higher rake rates. The relative success of online poker in Italy is the recognition as a game of skill that never ceases to marvel.
Top Italy poker sites
Fortunately, present-day Italian poker sites are full of passionate players, and the permissive laws have drawn more players to the table. As a result, you're free to gamble as much as you want, provided the operator is licensed and trustworthy. The prominent sites that have shaped Italian Poker include PokerStars, iPoker.IT, Peoples, 888.IT, Lottomatica, among others.
iPoker.it is the Italian skin of the famous iPoker network catering exclusively to the local grinders. Owned & powered by PlayTech, iPoker.it is among the top operators in Italy. Known for its softest games & multi-tabling in the modern online poker, iPoker.it is separated from the global pool and has been serving the Italian market since 2013.
While the network doesn't provide any exotic poker variants, players looking for quality Hold’em and Omaha games can try their hands with the simple user interface. An excellent choice for beginners looking for low-stakes cash games and buy-in tourneys, today, iPoker.it ranks second in terms of player traffic after PokerStars.
By default, the new software supports trackers, and you can play at max 6 tables funding your account with Skrill and Neteller. While the rake is pretty high compared to other European rooms at 5.56%, with a cap up to €3.5, the site offers decent access to a soft pool of Italian players.
An established brand in the Italian poker reservation, Peoples Poker Network is a part of the Italian gambling giant, Microgame s.p.A founded in 1996. Today the Italian Poker Network hosts the third-highest traffic in the segregated market of the country.
Widely known for its MTT games, the company has shifted its focus to NLHE & PLO cash games. However, recreational players can still participate in branded MTT series or play micro or low limit games. Customize your table to an extent; search a player by his nickname or multi-table with up to 16 tables.
Moreover, grinders can also participate in Sunday Tournaments with a guaranteed prize pool of €20,000 or try their hands in the SNG tourneys with rewards going up to 2,000 times the buy-in. Besides, the brand also supports trackers, including PokerTracker & Holdem Manager, so that you can analyze your games & polish your skills.
Unarguably the most trusted & legitimate company in the modern-day table game, PokerStars is synonymous with the online poker industry. Consistently the most prominent online poker room in Italy, PokerStars.IT ranks among the top 20 providers in PokerScout’s global ranking.
Identical to its international site, players access premium software with cutting-edge technology, including trackers and banking methods suiting your preference. As far as the game selection is concerned, real money Hold'em is the most popular game where you can easily find a table anytime.
Additionally, there are Sit & Go tourneys, MTTs, and Omaha, where you try your luck. Unfortunately, while the room offers a decent platform for mid and high-stakes players, there are fewer promotions available to Italian grinders when compared to its European counterpart.
Deposit and withdrawals for Italian poker players
As a regulated market, luckily, Italian grinders are offered payment methods that are transparent and legitimate. Most poker rooms accept the euro and US dollar for transactions. Those who wish to play online poker from Italy have an array of banking options available. These include:
- Credit cards & debit cards (VISA, MasterCard, Maestro).
- E-wallets (Skrill, Neteller, PayPal).
- Prepaid vouchers (PaySafeCard, NeoSurf, Ricarica).
- Bank wire transfers.
Fortunately, many of the options players use to fund their accounts can also be used for cash-outs. Players can expect instant withdrawals with most e-wallets, including Skrill and Neteller, while other methods might take 72-hour to 10 business days to process your funds back into your account. Many users also opt for paper checks to get them delivered to their door via courier.
Nonetheless, before making any deposit, ensure the site you select has the available payment option.
Non-Italian online poker rooms for Italian players
As the online poker market evolves, many international operators and private reservations accept players from almost all countries, including Italy. Having the opportunity to test your skills against global players is something you should not miss.
Started as a sportsbook and casino, BOL Poker forayed into the online poker market in the year 2011. Headquartered in Panama City, BetOnline is a part of the Chico Poker Network. Catering primarily to the US players, BOL is one of the reputable brands available for Italian players. The games are pretty soft with enough fish to keep your bankroll moving.
BetOnline mostly accepts payments using cryptocurrencies and e-wallets. Withdrawals are almost instant and take a maximum of 24hrs to reflect in your bank account. New players can earn up to $1,000 in bonus cash on their first deposit.
In addition, users can take advantage of the flexible software with many features, including customization, free odds calculator & impressive graphics.
Launched in 2016, PPPoker is one of the largest private club-based poker platforms with a global outreach. Designed especially for recreational players, users can play the game by joining a particular club.
Operated by agents and affiliates, PPPoker software is compatible with Windows, iOS and Android devices and offers quick access to different clubs. You can play Hold'em, Pot Limit Omaha, Open Face Chinese cash games, as well as tournaments with easily customizable tables. You can play up to 4 simultaneous tables with the convenient features.
Most agents accept payments using cryptocurrency, Neteller, and Skrill which are later converted to PPPoker chips to play. Similarly, to withdraw your funds, you need to convert your chips back to the main wallet. The minimum deposit amount is $100 and can vary depending on the clubs.
The lack of a direct cashier and a complicated structure involving agents and clubs can be complex for beginners, and choosing a trusted agent may not seem easy.
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