Opportunity for continued growth within Italy’s regulated market

Opportunity for continued growth within Italy’s regulated market

Friday, February 10, 2017
The Italian legacy briefing took place at ICE 2017

The panellists on the Italian legacy seminar at ICE 2017 praised the impact of regulation on gambling in the country, but cited the opportunity for continued growth given the relatively low penetration of online and mobile markets.

The regulation, which came just after the change in online sports betting taxation to 22% of the gross gaming revenue (GGR), has made the playing field more competitive. The market was worth €920 million GGR in 2016, but Gianfranco Allocca, Director of Online Business for Lottomatica/IGT, predicted that this figure would exceed £1 billion in 2017, with “digitalisation of the customer” as the main driver.

Tom Light, Vice President of Business Development at SBTech, highlighted sports betting as the major growth area within the overall gaming market, with an increase of more than 80% (€192 to €347 million GGR) from 2013 to 2016. He also promoted the omni-channel approach, and said that a cross channel player is 2.5 times more valuable to an operator. For SBTech, this isn’t just moving players to online, but also rewarding online loyalty with retail-based rewards.

Marco Castaldo, General Director for Microgame, reacted to the consistent decline in poker GGR by saying that it will remain a key element of Microgame’s portfolio, and predicting that figures will rise slightly for 2017 with more of a focus on entertainment. He also said that “outsourcing the back end and using land base for customer acquisition” could be two key entry points to the Italian market.

Daria Petralia, who specialises in legal counsel for online gaming, discussed the tendering process for the award of 120 new online gaming and betting licences, but said it is still “a long path to follow”. Rodolfo La Rosa, a partner at Baker McKenzie, said that the outcome should force operators to adhere to codes of practice, but also enable them to thrive within a competitive market.

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