In a very recent article we feared the possibility that eSports rooms were illegal. And now the news has come: on the initiative of the Customs and Monopolies Agency, all Lan and eSports lounges in Italy have been closed.
This type of rooms, which have been seized, will only continue to function as a shop or bar.
Everything was born from an expositionwhich in the previous article we proposed in full, and of which we will now report the most significant excerpts.
First, it is worth remembering that Lan means Local Area Network, i.e. the physical connection between computers in the same room to play games. And in the Lan rooms there are gaming peripherals and broadband connections. Stations whose equipment would cost several thousand euros, but which can be rented for a few euros an hour.
As we said, in the past few hours the Excise, Customs and Monopolies Agency has sealed the games and driving simulators of the EsportPalace of Bergamo and of all the clubs in our country where you can play online with computers and consoles.
It all started with a statement by Sergio Milesi, owner of Led srl. In the statement, among other things, we can read how the equipment present in the eSports halls and “the payment by customers of a cost for the use of such equipment, are an evasion of the regulations in force”.
We then read: “We do not understand how games that are usually on the market for home entertainment 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.”
And further on: “We would like to point out how they represent activities that perform unfair competition with respect to the activity carried out by the undersigned Company which is required to comply zealously and slavishly with the applicable legislation. We reserve the right to report this situation also to the Italian Competition and Market Authority. “
The attached images
Even attaching some images, Milesi (owner of arcades, slot rooms, billiards and the Joyvillage chain) has therefore shown the similarity between the equipment installed in its halls and those found in Lan or eSports halls.
Specifically citing driving simulators, the CEO of Led srl writes that “they are very similar to devices that our company, incurring high costs, in compliance with the rules is obliged to approve through the relevant bodies and then allow their installation and use in premises dedicated to lawful gaming. “
The complaint (sent by email on Thursday 21 April) had immediate and sensational consequences.
It took a little over a week for the Excise, Customs and Monopoly Agency to take a wide-ranging action. And seal a number of eSports and Lan halls.
With the indefinite closure of any public access venue in which to play with consoles and computers, it will probably not even be possible to try games at national sector fairssuch as Milan Games Week, which will take place from 25 to 27 November.
The two Cicolari brothers, who manage the EsportPalace in Bergamo, told what happened through a video posted on Instagram, lasting over 4 minutes (and which has already collected more than 23,000 likes).
The Ciculars disputed the fact that the men of the Customs and Monopolies Agency did not want to listen to their lawyers, and they promise legal battle.
The position of the Agency
On Wednesday 27 April the Excise, Customs and Monopolies Agency had published a circular. In which he invited the owners of the Lan rooms to equip their equipment, by 30 April, with homologation or certification and with authorized qualifications. In addition to paying the tax on entertainment (ISI).
When technology goes faster than legislation
Now the Excise, Customs and Monopolies Agency has 90 days to definitively clarify the situation.
In which the abysmal distance between the rapid development of technology (some would like eSports at the next Olympics) and legislation that fails to keep pace seems quite evident.
This is what Cicolari, owner of the EsportPalace declared, interviewed by Esportsmag. Cicolari said: “We need to make the institutions understand how this world works. On a regulatory level, honestly, I don’t see a margin. It’s like using a PC in an office. There is no need for legislation.
It must be understood: do they want to tax it? Let me tax it, but in fact, believe me, the revenues made by Lan theaters are really low compared to the cost of machinery and management costs. At EsportPalace we do it as a marketing activity.
Certainly there could be regulation, but more oriented towards soccer fields or gyms. We provide the equipment and the athlete makes his performance. All software, then, are protected and therefore any unwanted use by the machines is blocked. In fact, therefore, regulation is minimal. For me, an interpretative decree from the Agency and a certification of what is done in a Lan room would be enough “.