Summer slowdown hits Italian market

Euro 2012 failed to revive a struggling online sports betting segment in Italy as the effects of the traditional summer slowdown took hold across the country’s regulated online gambling market in June.

Revenue from gambling on poker, sports, casino table games, bingo and other products in Italy’s ring-fenced market fell 9.5% month-over-month during June to €52m from €57.5m the previous month, according to the latest dataset from Italian regulator AAMS. While this figure was up 29.6% year-on-year, June’s figures included contributions from two major new product groups – cash poker and casino table games – that didn’t launch until July 2011.

Fixed-odds sports betting was the only product group not to fall below the previous month’s total, rising 2% month-over-month to €8m from €7.9m, but this was 16.6% down year-on-year despite June including a major betting event – the Euro 2012 football tournament – absent from its comparative period a year earlier, indicating serious underlying deterioration in the market.

Italian regulator AAMS will soon allow licensed operators to offer bets on a wider range of events, as well as virtual bets and exchange betting, in an effort to boost the attractiveness of betting on regulated sites for Italian punters. However, lobby group the Remote Gambling Association last week released a KPMG-authored report to support its case that Italy moving to a gross profit tax for sports betting from the current tax on stakes would result in more tax income and better consumer protection from the perspective of the Italian government, given the current regime made it impossible for licensed operators to compete with the value available on offshore sites, leading to increasing numbers of Italians betting there instead of on AAMS-licensed sites.

Revenue from the dominant poker, casino table games and skill gaming segment – which represented 67.6% of GGR from the market in June – fell 10.6% month-over-month to €38m from €42.5m, as historical seasonal revenue patterns took hold.

In casino table games, set to be boosted with the launch of slots from December, the market contracted 5.6% during June to €11.3m, from €12m in May. Lottomatica kept itself in the box seat to capitalise on December’s online launch of Italians’ favourite offline gambling activity, commanding 26.6% of GGR from this segment in June, ahead of brands Gioco Digitale, bwin and PartyCasino with 11.9%. UK brand William Hill also regained its top five position ahead of Winga (for full rundown, see below).

Cash poker revenue also sustained a heavy month-over-month fall as Euro 2012 betting and the summer slowdown took their toll, down 16.42% month-over-month to €15m from €18m. Tournament poker revenue also continued to be cannibalised by poker ring games and an increased choice of games for Italians since last summer, down 7.2% during June to €11.6m from €12.5m, down 53.5% year-on-year (for more on this, including market shares, see separate article).

Online bingo, also hindered by a turnover tax, however suffered the most catastrophic fall, down 18.3% month-over-month to €3m from €3.7m, and a massive 33.9% year-on-year.’s Gioco Digitale brand retained its 25% market share of this fast-shrinking segment, ahead of Lottomatica and UK brand Tombola in third spot (see below for more detailed rundown).

Italy online casino and bingo market – June 2012 (% share of GGR)*

Casino table games – leading operators**

Lottomatica – 26.6% (25.6%) (including Gioco Digitale, bwin, Party) – 11.9% (11.5%)
Sisal – 9.2% (8.5%)
Snai – 8.3% (8%)
William Hill – 6.6% (6.8%)
(888 – 4.9% from 6.5%)

Bingo – leading operators** (including – 25.6% (25.5%)
Lottomatica – 18.6% (17.7%)
Tombola – 11.4% (11.1%)
Sisal – 10.6% (9.7%)
Snai – 7.3% (7.9%)
(William Hill 1.4% from 1.1%)

*May 2012 figures in brackets
**Calculations by Casino Choice based on AAMS data

Casino Choice journalist

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