From a timeless symbol of summer to a victim of a rule that can only be defined absurd: foosball – or table football – condemned to death by a new tax that affects gaming tables and pinball machines equating them to gambling. And a decree that entered into force in June also sets the penalties: 4 thousand euros for those who play on unauthorized devices.
But let’s go step by step. Many have discovered it in these first summer weekends: the classic benches with the figures of footballers are disappearing from the bathing establishments, which for more than half a century have been the subject of last-goal challenges between young and old. Foosball tables are in danger of disappearing due to a new regulation that has equated table football with gambling machines, leading many managers to close the game in the closet to avoid paying hefty fines.
Until last year, in fact, table footballs were exempt from paying the tax on entertainment applied to paid games with winning prizes, while decree no. 65 of 18 May 2021 established that even the premises in possession of table football and pinball machines must pay the tax, which amounts to 8% of the average flat-rate taxable amount in addition to the VAT limit and obtain the consequent authorization from the Customs Agency and of the Monopolies.
Therefore, here is the decree of the director of the Customs and Monopoly Agency dated 1/06/2021 which had established as from 1 June 2022 that even devices that do not pay out cash prizes or coupons can only be installed if they have a ” commissioning “. Among the devices in the viewfinder fall billiards, table tennis, pinball machines and precisely table football. Therefore, by April 30, the managers should have made the request for the authorization title to the Customs Agency. The same process as for video poker.
Therefore, the manager of an establishment or a public place and even a cultural club who wants to make table football, carambola, billiards, pinball machines and darts available to customers is forced to pay other taxes or risk a fine. And so many have decided to do without a free form of entertainment for children and families. From being timeless games, due to this rule, table football and other traditional forms of entertainment are in danger of disappearing.
But all is not lost. In recent days, an interpellation was presented to the Revenue Agency to challenge the payment of the tax: “The fact of having to register also free-of-charge devices – explains Jamma, an information portal dedicated to public gaming – is believed by party of the person who promoted the initiative, be in contrast with the rule of payment of the tax on withholdings (Presidential Decree 26/10/1972 n. 640, articles 14-bis, 14-ter, 14-quater, 14-quinquies and 15) which involves the payment of the tax “. A parliamentary question signed by Senator Paola Binetti (Forza Italia) was also presented on the absurdity of the provision, but for now all is silent.
At the moment it does not appear that Equitalia has started to impose fines, but when in doubt, many bathing establishment managers have preferred to remove the game perhaps most loved by tourists.