The SKS365 Group’s PlanetWin365 betting brand held on to second place in Italy’s online revenue charts for the second straight month.
Figures compiled by Italian gaming news agency Agimeg.it show Italian-licensed online sports betting sites handling total wagers of €486.6m in the month of May, down roughly 10% from April’s €542m handle. The combined online and land-based betting handle totaled €860m.
As usual, Bet365’s Italian site claimed the largest slice (€150.2m) of the online betting pie, but PlanetWin365 ranked second for the second straight month with €49.1m, edging out Gala Coral’s Eurobet brand at €46.5m. Snaitech and Sisal rounded out the top five with €31.4m and €31.1m, respectively.
The online casino vertical reported revenue of €46.3m, up €1.1m from the previous month but a full one-third higher than the casino vertical reported in May 2016. Lottomatica remained top casino dog with a 10% share, followed by Sisal (7.5%), Amaya Gaming’s PokerStars brand (7.2%), Eurobet (6.9%) and William Hill (5.8%).
As for online poker, GiocoNews reported that tournament entry fees totaled €6.9m, €300k higher than in April and a 16.7% year-on-year improvement. As ever, PokerStars dominated this category, claiming 65.5% of all tournament fees. Poker cash game revenue totaled €5.4m, down €200k from April and 8.3% below May 2016’s figure.
On the land-based front, Italy’s four brick-and-mortar casinos have earned a combined €119.3m over the first five months of 2017, with nearly two-thirds (63.3%) of that sum coming via slots.
THE GREAT VLT PURGE BEGINS
Speaking of spinning reels, the Italian legislature’s lower house recently confirmed plans to reduce the nation’s complement of video lottery terminals (VLTs) by 140k machines. The cull, which is to be completed by April 1, 2018, represents about one-third of the total 407k VLTs currently whirring and buzzing in some 80k small venues across the country.
The lower house also approved plans to boost the tax on slot machine revenue by 1.5 points to 19%, while VLT taxes will rise half a point to 6%. On Thursday, Italy’s Senate gave its approval to these plans.
Meanwhile, the city of Rome has approved new restrictions on where VLTs and other electronic gaming machines (EGM) can be located. The changes, previewed last November by Rome’s major Virginia Raggi, prohibit new EGMs from being installed in any venue located within 500m of a ‘sensitive’ place, i.e. schools, churches, youth centers, etc.). Existing EGM venues will learn what fate Rome has in store for them within 120 days.