Bet365 continued its vice-like control of the Italian online sports betting market in the month of July. According to figures published by Italian news agency Agimeg.it, July’s online sports betting turnover hit €268.9m, of which €104.2m (38.7%) went to the folks from Stoke. Bet365’s nearest online competitor, Gala Coral Group’s Eurobet brand, was well back of the pace with €25.2m. In fact, even if you add in the €26.2m Eurobet earned from its retail betting operations in July, it would still be less than half of Bet365’s bounty. Third-place went to local boys Sisal, who scored €18.9m online and a further €24.5m at retail. Paddy Power Betfair came in fourth with €17m, while William Hill notched fifth with €16.3m. BETUNIQ REBOOT IMMINENT? Meanwhile, the Betuniq brand may be returning to Italian shores, albeit in slightly altered form. One year ago, the Malta-licensed Betuniq was the subject of a major crackdown by Italian police, who accused the site of colluding with local Mafia groups to process illegal online wagers via over 1,500 internet cafés known as CTDs (data transmission centers). This week, Italian media reported that Caterina Catalano, a judge in the city of Reggio Calabra, had granted the request of Betuniq owner Mario Gennaro to relaunch the brand, based on his apparent “decisive contribution” to the authorities’ investigation of the case. The Anti-Mafia Prosecutor’s office has reportedly signed off on the request. However, the site will now have to obtain an Italian license and pay all relevant fees and taxes. In other words, no more operating from Malta, which is convenient, since the Malta Gaming Authority suspended Betuniq’s operating license following last summer’s police action. Gennaro has reportedly told Betuniq’s former employees that their unpaid wages will be paid once the MGA license revocation process is complete and Maltese authorities release funds frozen at the time the license was suspended. The Betuniq.it site currently contains only a splash screen, with the cryptic statement: “There isn’t enough night to prevent the sun to rise.” Speculation has it that the site could be up and running in a few months following Gennaro’s court appearance at the end of September.
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