The article provides a critical analysis of the evolution of the Italian migrant reception system following the 2014 "refugee crisis". The aim is to demonstrate how the touted goal of discouraging so-called "bogus asylum seekers" or "fraudulent economic migrants" has been used to institutionalize the Emergency Reception Centres (CAS) as the ordinary place to host asylum seekers, while the ordinary reception system has been greatly weakened. Furthermore, this process to institutionalize the CASs has been accompanied by the progressive distancing of the regulations for these facilities from the decentralized and dispersed model sought in the ordinary reception system. The reflection is based on a comparative analysis of the tendering procedures to allocate the emergency reception services drawn up by the Prefectures of Florence, Siena and Arezzo between 2015 and 2019. This analysis is divided into three phases. The first refers to the years 2015-2017, when the CAS system was mainly regulated by ministerial circulars. The second phase analyses the period following the issuing of the Ministerial Decree of 7 March 2017 which introduced specific and more detailed regulations for these facilities for the first time. The final phase concentrates on the entry into force of Law no. 132/2018, which transformed the SPRAR system into SIPROIMI, and the Ministerial Decree of 20 November 2018 which modified the CAS system again.