Italy’s gambling operators enjoyed a solid July performance, even with the looming prospect of a total ban on advertising casting a pall over the market.
Figures published by gaming news outlet Agimeg show Italian sports betting operators generated combined retail and online revenue of €114.3m in July, up 32.4% from the same month last year. Retail betting revenue improved 30.8% to €62.8m while online wagering was up 34.4% to €51.5m.
For the year-to-date, overall betting revenue is up 43.3% to €852m, while online is up 43.5% to €361.5m. The government’s share of this bounty totaled nearly €168m, a figure that is sure to drop once the new prohibition on all forms of gambling advertising kicks in on January 1, 2019.
Perennial number one Bet365 maintained its online betting dominance in July, reporting turnover of €157m and revenue of €10.4m. Both figures were well ahead of closest rival SKS365, which could manage only €41.2m in turnover yet managed a far higher hold, resulting in revenue of €6.2m. Snaitech ruled the retail wagering charts with turnover of €59.5m and revenue of €11.8m.
Virtual betting brought in revenue of €21m, of which the vast majority (€19.5m) came via retail shops. For the year-to-date, virtual betting revenue totaled €150m, with €138.5m coming via retail channels.
Online casino revenue grew 26.7% year-on-year to €56m, with The Stars Group’s PokerStars brand topping all comers with a 10% share, beating out runner-up Lottomatica’s 8.6% and third-place finisher Sisal’s 7.5%.
On the poker front, tournament revenue was essentially flat at €5.9m, while poker cash games suffered the summer blahs, falling 7.8% year-on-year to €4.7m. As usual, PokerStars claimed top honors in both categories, with a 41% share of the cash games market and a 64.8% slice of tournament action.
OLD REGULATOR ISN’T GOING QUIETLY
Italy’s Customs and Monopoly Agency (AAMS) got a new boss last week, as the new coalition government appointed former tax official Benedetto Mineo to head up the agency. Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio publicly described the change as ridding the government of connections to the Democratic Party, over which the coalition triumphed at the polls in June.
The change was blasted by the outgoing AAMS boss Giovanni Kessler, the aforementioned Democratic Party member, who subsequently posted a screed to his personal Facebook account calling Mineo’s appointment “a political cleansing … that undermines impartiality and good performance of the technical organs of the public administration.”
Meanwhile, Di Maio’s anti-gambling campaign has now shifted to the retail front via a would-be meme that calls for pinball machines to replace the thousands of gambling machines in Italy’s bars and clubs. Di Maio based his new campaign on his assertion that “pinball has never ruined anyone,” clearly ignoring the horrors inflicted on millions who suffered through that ghastly movie version of Tommy.