BUSINESS

Italy’s gambling sites have solid May but further curbs loom

TAGs: Italy

italy-online-gambling-curbsItaly’s online sports betting operators roared back to life in May after suffering a rare setback in April.

Figures published by Italian gaming news outlet Agimeg show Italy’s licensed online sports betting operators reported turnover rising 6.4% year-on-year to €518m in May while betting revenue jumped 40.4% to €40.8m. For the first five months of 2018, online betting revenue has grown 46.4% to €262.4m.

Things were more mixed on the retail wagering front, where betting turnover declined nearly 5% to €355m but revenue managed to improve 9.4% to €52.1m. For the year-to-date, retail wagering revenue is up 47% to €362.6m.

As usual, Bet365 ruled the online betting revenue charts with a 17.6% share, followed by SKS365 at 14.9%, with Playtech’s new acquisition Snaitech in third with 10.5%. On the land-based side, Snai claimed the largest slice with 13.1%, followd by SKS365 at 12.4% and Eurobet at 11.2%.

Online casino operators reported revenue of €57.3m in May, a 23.7% improvement over the same month last year. The Stars Group’s PokerStars brand claimed a 9% online casino share, narrowly edging out Lottomatica (8.64%) and Sisal (8.3%) for the biggest slice of this pie.

The poker vertical was a mixed bag, as tournament entry fees fell 1.9% to €6.4m while cash game revenue managed a slim 0.8% year-on-year gain to €5.5m. For the year-to-date, tournament revenue totaled €37.3m while cash games contributed €29.7m.

Italy’s online gambling operator association LoGico welcomed two new members this month, as both SKS365 and sports betting technology provider Kambi were formally granted membership. LoGico also reappointed president Moreno Marasco to a further three-year term.

Italy’s online operators can use all the help they can muster, as they’re currently facing an unprecedented attack on their business from Italy’s new ruling coalition. The government recently confirmed plans to scrap all gambling advertising as the first step in reining in what it views as an industry that has had its own way for too long.

Italy’s other political parties appear intent on joining this anti-gambling campaign. This week, Giorgia Meloni, an MP of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, proposed banning the introduction of any new gaming products for a period of five years.

Not to be outdone, Democratic Party deputy Walter Verini introduced a bill that would establish a new Anti-Mafia Commission that would focus on “the illegal gaming and betting system” to combat laundering the proceeds of crime.

And Agimeg reported Tuesday that the ruling coalition was prepping new measures specifically targeting data transmission centers (CTDs) – retail shops offering online gambling via computer terminals – that have featured so prominently in recent police actions linked to Malta-licensed online operators.

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