Italian regulator lifts restrictions on in-play sports betting

italy-in-play-betting-restrictions-liftedOnline sports betting operators in Italy are celebrating this week following news that the country’s gaming regulator was easing restrictions on some forms of in-play wagers.

Until recently, the AAMS regulatory body restricted Italian-licensed operators to offering wagers only on events for which AAMS verified the results. For any other wagers, the operator was required to provide at least two reliable sources of information regarding the results. This left operators with no way to offer wagers on events not specifically tracked by the relevant sporting body, such as ‘next corner’ during a specific time window.

This week, DLA Piper gaming lawyer Giulio Coraggio reported that AAMS has now given operators permission to offer wagers not specifically listed on the approved list, provided the results can be supported by “elements, news and information objectively verifiable.” The shift effectively allows operators to offer a product better equipped to compete with non-Italian-licensed operators who continue to serve Italian punters. Coraggio suggested Italian-licensed international operators would also enjoy an added advantage over their local competition, which is relatively inexperienced with in-play wagering.

When Italy first launched its regulated online gambling market, licensed sports betting operators were kept on a tight leash in terms of the wagering options they could offer punters. In September 2013, AAMS loosened its grip slightly by doubling the number of acceptable betting markets to 45. The change has produced significant growth in the Italian market, with September’s online betting revenue rising 76% year-on-year. Now if only someone could do something about those taxes…

As for other verticals, September saw Italy’s regulated online casino market revenue rise 8% to €21.5m, the sixth consecutive month of improved numbers. The streak reflects the ongoing campaign by AAMS to convince online casino software suppliers to stop supplying their products to non-licensed operators by the end of 2014. Typically, things weren’t so bright on the poker front, which saw tournament stakes rise 16% to €72.5m while cash game stakes fell 20% to €330m. PokerStars’ dominance of the market increased in September, capturing 55% of cash game activity and 73% of tournament action.