Italy’s online gambling market was firing on (nearly) all cylinders in June, although serious doubts exist about the market’s future as new advertising curbs loom.
Figures compiled by Italian gaming news agency Agimeg show locally licensed online sports betting operators reported revenue of €47.6m in June, a 38.3% improvement over the same month last year. Bet365 claimed a nearly 17% share of this pie, while SKS365 (13.7%) and Snaitech (10.7%) weren’t far behind.
Retail wagering revenue was also up more than one-third in June, rising 34.3% to €65.2m, with Snaitech claiming the lion’s share (18%), followed by Eurobet (14.5%) and Lottomatica (11.8%).
Online casino revenue was up nearly 30% year-on-year to €55.5m, with The Stars Group’s PokerStars brand in the lead with a 9.6% share, followed by Sisal (8.1%) and Lottomatica (7.9%). Tournament poker revenue nudged up 2.6% to €6.1m, while poker cash game revenue fell 5.3% to €4.8m.
Meanwhile, online gambling operator Betway is standing by its decision to ink a three-year betting partnership with Serie A club AS Roma this week, even though Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio (pictured) stated that all gambling marketing deals announced after the publication of the country’s new Dignity Decree “will not be valid.”
On Friday, eGaming Review quoted Betway CEO Anthony Werkman saying both his outfit and AS Roma are “satisfied” that their deal “meets with all requirements of Italian law.” But Di Maio told local broadcaster Rai3 that he anticipated such signings, and the government will “put a rule in the conversion office of the decree to prevent those” who are attempting to skirt the new advertising edicts.
The Italian gaming industry has pinned its hopes on parliament amending the dignity decree to limit the proposed ban on all gambling advertising and sponsorships that’s set to take effect on January 1, 2019, with all existing sponsorships forced to expire by June 30, 2019.
But Di Maio said Friday that the government would “defend everything we have done … I would not want someone … to start to introduce norms to water down, for example, gambling advertising.”
Italian President Sergio Mattarella signed the dignity decree on Friday, and parliament is expected to start the process of approving the measure on July 24. Aware that the advertising ban will have a negative impact on the government’s tax coffers, the decree was amended this week to hike taxes on land-based slot machines and video lottery terminals.