Lan and eSport halls in Italy closed: because the state seizes video game locations

from Alessio Lana

The Customs and Monopolies Agency has blocked all Italian realities of this type which will therefore be able to continue to function as shops or bars

For the halls Lan and eSport it seems over. L’Customs agency and monopolies has seized all the Italian realities of this type which will therefore be able to continue to function as shops or bars but not for their raison d’etre, video games.

Sale Lan, what are they

Born about thirty years ago, Lan rooms rent stations with PCs and consoles to play the latest videogame titles and over time they have evolved a lot. Once, when we were still sailing at 56K, they were a parallel world. On the one hand, they made it possible to pay a few thousand lire an hour to have powerful (and prohibitively priced) machines available to have fun with. In addition to the computers they were connected to each other via LAN, hence the name, so from organize challenges with friends. They then transformed a (back then) solitary fun like video game into something to share with friends and strangers all locked in the same room. From there i was born Lan party, challenges that lasted hours playing titles like Quake or Duke Nukem 3D. Now that everyone has a powerful connection and that gaming PCs, however expensive, are still affordable, Lan halls have become the temple of eSports, the places where digital athletes train. There is a dark and above all fiscal area.

The reasons for the closure

The total closure came following a exposed from Sergio Milesi, CEO of Led Srl and owner of arcades, slots, billiards and the Joyvillage chain. In the document, the manager notes the similarity between the equipment installed at his stores and those offered by the Lan or eSports rooms, also attaching photos of a driving simulator.

The gaming machines

From here he notes three aspects. The first that the arcades proper I am subject to stringent regulations to prevent equipment installed in public places from being used for illegal gambling while in Lan rooms simple PCs and consoles connected online are installedwhere even underage users can use such equipment without any control and regulation.
The second is that home entertainment products they are made available in premises open to the public for a fee to users, masking the cost of this service in the pure rental of the equipment and not in the use of the game.
The third difference these driving simulators are very similar to devices that our company, incurring onerous costs, in compliance with the rules obliged to approve through the bodies in charge and then allow it to be installed and used in premises dedicated to lawful gaming. Everything would then lead us to circumvention of the regulations in force.

The answer

From here here are the seals to all the equipment of the Italian Lan and eSport rooms that respond on social networks. From the eSport Palace in Bergamo, one of the major Italian realities, they underline how the norms of today are from thirty years ago and then they see a custom liquid PC like a Pac-Man cabinet. In addition, the owner continues in a video on TikTok, the old cabinets had the game installed while now the video games are managed online on publisher servers and are only played on PCs. So impossible to validate them, especially since they update every three seconds (And it refers in particular to the driving simulators mentioned in the complaint). Finally, it should be noted how eSports, digital sports, are recognized by Coni like other sports disciplines.

We thank him for having thought of us first … In his presentation … We thank him for making us overturn the premises… But we thank him even more for what will follow, writes on Instagram the PC Teklab Gaming of Milan referring to Milesi, Now that we have been seized first of all from us all the stations … I hope a world opens up for you. .. Completely new … A world that is very familiar to us ….. Then they also posted a photo of playing with an iMac in an Apple Store.

The point of view of Adm

The problem, however, above all fiscal. The Adm reiterated in April a substantial one equality between all gaming machines (the making available free of charge in premises open to the public of the equipment referred to in art.110, paragraph 7, of the TULPS does not exempt from the obligation to comply with the provisions in force and from the payment of the relative tax) and therefore also the halls Lan or eSport must be authorized and are subject to homologation, certification and payment of the Entertainment Tax (Isi).

Il Coni: video games are not gambling

I was quite astonished, given that in my opinion there is a great underlying misunderstanding, dictated by the lack of knowledge of the sector, he explains to Agimeg Stefano Sbordoni, consultant of the recently established Coni eSport Promoting Committee (and known as Svi: Sport Virtuali Italia). Confusing a sporting activity with a cash-winning gambling activity it seems quite borderline to me – he continues -. I believe that even those who have denounced these activities as competition to their own should further investigate the issue. The legislation on eSports events, including the places where they take place, on which I have expressed myself several times, even publicly, is in fact lacking but I reiterate that these activities have nothing to do with gambling.

What will happen

In short, there are many issues to be cleared up and the Adm has 90 days to clarify a complex situation, made up of outdated rules, definitions to be revised and a technology that runs faster than the law. Then it happens just as arcades are emptied more and more (it has been happening for years) while their counterparts are on the crest of the wave. There are countries, such as France, that invest in esports like traditional disciplines and Macron himself would like them at the Paris Olympics in 2024. From this point of view, therefore, closing an eSports hall would be like to seal a football or rugby field.

May 2, 2022 (change May 2, 2022 | 14:20)

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Lan and eSport halls in Italy closed: because the state seizes video game locations

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