Italy’s online poker market still searching for bottom


italy-online-pokerItaly‘s online sports betting and casino sites continued their upward trajectory in February, while online poker continues to provide irrefutable proof that gravity works.

According to figures compiled by Italy’s gaming news agency, online sports betting turnover topped €432m last month, while land-based wagers were well back at €394m. The combined total of €828m was 30% higher than the same month last year and 7% more than January’s €775m.

As ever, Bet365 ruled the betting roost with €143.3m, just under one-third of total online handle. The rest of the top-five were unchanged from January, led by Ladbrokes-Coral’s Eurobet brand (€41m), Sisal (€31.4m), Snai (€30.7m) and William Hill (€25.5m).

The online casino vertical also enjoyed stellar growth in February, with revenue rising nearly 25% to €41.1m. Here too, the operator rankings were unchanged from January, with Lottomatica out front with a 10.7% share of the total, followed by Sisal (8.6%), Amaya Gaming’s PokerStars (8.3%), Bwin (6.4%) and Snai (6.1%).

Sisal’s share of the casino pie has grown nearly one-third since February 2016, while PokerStars is up 28.6% year-on-year. Contrast that with William Hill, which has seen its casino share fall more than one-quarter over the past 12 months.

Speaking of losers, Italy’s online poker market continued to die on the vine, with February’s tournament fees falling 16.5% from January while cash games were down 11%. PokerStars is still the unquestioned leader in both categories, although its tournament share slipped about five points to 42.5% and its cash game share fell two points to 69.2%.

The Italian government recently released its final, official figures for the country’s gambling market in 2016, which showed total gambling spending of €19.17b, a gain of 11.4% over 2015’s total. More than half of this sum (€10.5m) came via Italy’s ubiquitous gaming machines, a 10% year-on-year gain.

Finally, as proof that the real house always wins, the government’s share of 2016’s gambling bounty was up nearly one-quarter to €10.1b, while player winnings increased a more modest 8.2% to €76.8m.