Italy’s online gamblers spent a record sum on sports betting in 2017, accounting for over half of all betting wagers.
Figures reported this week by Italian gaming news outlet Agimeg show Italian sports bettors wagered a record €9.9b in 2017, up from €7.5b in 2016 and just €5.5b in 2015. Roughly 56% (€5.65b) of 2017’s betting handle was wagered via Italian-licensed online betting sites.
The 2017 figures were goosed by a 287% rise in December’s betting handle, attributable in part to Serie A football staging matches through the holiday season for the first time, delaying players’ holiday break until the end of January. Also bringing joy to operators’ faces was December’s 75.5% payout ratio to bettors, the lowest figure all year.
Italian-licensed operators’ full-year sports betting revenue surged 44.5% year-on-year to €1.34b. Online betting revenue was up 59.4% to €555.6m, including €82m in just the month of December.
UK online gambling operator Bet365’s Italian site finished first in overall sports turnover (31.6%) and revenue (17.4%), while SKS365 (and its Planetwin365 online site) finished second with 7.5% and 12%, respectively. Snaitech ranked third with 6.9% of turnover and 9.5% of revenue.
December was also a good month for the online casino vertical, which saw revenue jump more than one-quarter year-on-year to €56.4m. For the year as a whole, revenue jumped 29.2% to €567m. Lottomatica claimed the online casino crown with a 9.7% market share, followed by Sisal (8.5%) and The Stars Group’s PokerStars (8.3%).
Both online poker tournaments and cash games had a December to dismember, with tournament revenue falling 0.7% to €8.1m while cash games slipped 7.4% to €6m. Full-year tournament revenue improved nearly one-fifth to €83.1m while cash games fell 2% to €69.7m.
Pokerstars claimed the lion’s share of both tournament (68.6%) and cash games (44.8%) revenue. Lottomatica ranked second in cash games (7.3%) and third in tournament share (5.3%), while Sisal ranked second in tournaments (5.4%) and third in cash games (5.7%).
The 2017 online revenue surge bodes well for Italy’s Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM), which this week launched its public tender for up to 120 new online sports betting, casino, poker, bingo and exchange betting licenses. Interested operators have until March 19 to submit their applications.