Italy sets online casino revenue record; PokerStars’ grip slips


italy-online-casino-recordItaly’s regulated online gambling market started 2018 off on the right foot, posting double-digit sports betting gains and setting a new online casino record.

Figures compiled by Italian gaming news agency Agimeg show total land-based and online sports betting revenue of €150.5m in January, up 15.5% year-on-year. However, the online portion of that total was up 27.5% to €60.8m, dramatically outpacing retail betting’s 8.7% growth.

UK operator Bet365’s Italian site claimed top honors in the individual online sports betting operators with revenue of €10.1m, while SKS365 Group’s Planetwin365 brand wasn’t far behind at €8.5m. The rest of the top-five was a dogfight between Snaitech (€5.7m), Eurobet (€5.1m) and Sisal (€4.9m).

The online casino vertical set a new monthly revenue record with €59.7m, a hefty 30.4% improvement over the same month last year. Local boys Lottomatica claimed top individual honors, although its 9.03% online casino market share was a mere whisker above The Stars Group’s PokerStars at 9.01%. Sisal (8.33%), Eurobet (7.23%) and GVC Holdings’ Bwin (5.91%) rounded out the top-five.

Italy’s online poker market had another bad month, with tournament revenue falling 1.1% to €8.7m, while cash games were down 9.4% to €6.7m. PokerStars maintained its dominance of both poker verticals, although its tournament share fell 10% year-on-year to 64.4% while its cash games slice shed seven points to 40.5%.

Italy welcomed a new online poker entrant last month as UK operator 888 Holdings officially debuted its Italian-facing poker site. 888 ranked eighth on the cash games chart with a 3.16% share, while its share of Italy’s tournament market also placed eighth with 1.26%.

At the time of 888’s Italian poker launch, COO Itai Pazner said his company was “following closely the developments” of Italy’s progress toward joining the poker liquidity pact agreed to last summer by Italy, France, Portugal and Spain. 888 holds poker licenses in both Italy and Spain, and ranks second only to PokerStars in the latter market.

However, while France and Spain have officially commenced liquidity pooling and Portugal appears poised to join any day now, Italy’s timeline is far less clear. Italy’s politicians insist they’ll get there eventually, but for the moment, 888 will have to bide its time.