Italy’s online sports betting shores up weak retail in November


italy-online-sports-betting-planetwin365The SKS365 Group reclaimed the Italian market’s online sports betting crown in November as online betting operators shored up a weak performance by their retail counterparts.

Figures released by Italy’s AAMS gambling regulator show the state’s online and land-based sports betting licensees generated revenue of €148.5m in November, a modest improvement over November 2017’s €147m. However, last month’s total represents a significant rise from October 2018’s €133.7m, so hurrah.

November’s gains came courtesy of online sportsbooks, which reported revenue rising 5% year-on-year to €65.1m, while retail revenue was down nearly 2% to €83.4m. For the year-to-date, the overall betting market is up 23.8% to €1.39b, with online up 25.5% to €593.7m and retail rising 22% to €791.4m.

SKS365’s PlanetWin365 brand reclaimed the online betting throne with 14.95% of total online revenue, narrowly outperforming perpetual rival Bet365’s 14.66% share. Snaitech (11.3%), Eurobet (9.9%) and Sisal (7.3%) rounded out the online top-five.

November’s online casino revenue improved nearly 14% to €57.2m, with The Stars Group’s PokerStars brand claiming top honors with a 10.6% share. Lottomatica ranked second with 9.2% and Sisal ranked third with 8.3%.

Online poker continued to stink up the boot, with tournament revenue down 2.9% to €6.9m, while cash game revenue was down 10.2% to €5.2m. As ever, PokerStars captured the bulk of tournament (62.6%) and cash game (37.8%) revenue.

In the year through October, the government’s tax take (both direct and indirect) from gambling operations hit just over €12b, a roughly 4.6% rise from the same period last year. Direct taxes on gambling revenue accounted for the bulk (€11.64b) of this total, of which €6.2b came via lottery proceeds.

The government’s tax take will likely take a steep dive in 2019, thanks to the government-mandated 35% reduction in video lottery terminals and amusement with prizes (AWP) machines, although the government hopes to offset this hit through hikes in gaming machine tax rates.

The market as a whole will also take a hit from the January 1 introduction of the controversial new prohibition on all gambling advertising. Italian online casino licensee LeoVegas, which has led the fight to convince the government to reverse its decision, recently published an online video (viewable below, in Italian) debunking many of the government’s claims regarding the effectiveness of its ban-happy approach.