Figures published by Italian gaming news agency Agimeg.it show Italian-licensed online poker operators took in €6.1m in tournament entry fees in the month of May, up 7.7% from the same month last year. For the year to date, tournament fees are up 18.6% to €38.4m.
As witnessed in other European regulated markets, the situation was far less rosy for online poker cash games, which fell 9.6% to €5.9m. Cash games are down 15.7% over the first five months of 2016.
The cash game decline is largely a problem for PokerStars, which reported a 47.6% share of the market in May. Stars’ closest competitor Lottomatica scored a mere 7.6%.
Stars’ dominance was even more pronounced in the tournament category, of which 72.8% belonged to PokerStars.it. Here again, Lottomatica played the bridesmaid, but scored only 6.1% of the tournament pie, while third-place finisher Snai claimed only 3.9%.
Stars’ Italian site added casino products to its online offering a year ago, and the figures for May show Stars claiming 5.8% of the market’s total online casino revenue, good enough for fifth on the depth chart behind market leader Lottomattica (12.2%), Sisal (9.2%), William Hill (6.9%) and Gala Coral Group’s Eurobet brand (6.1%).
The overall Italian online casino market earned revenue of €34.7m in the month of May, a sum 30.3% higher than the same month last year. Online casino revenue over the first five months of 2016 is up 35.6% to €175m.
Stars’ Italian site only recently launched its sports betting product and while it’s doubtful that market leader Bet365 will be quaking in its boots anytime soon, other operators will likely see their own thin slices of the pie grow even thinner.