Italian online gaming revenues up 25% year-on-year

Italian online gaming revenues up 25% year-on-year

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Christian Tirabassi: ‘We are currently seeing a lot of interest from operators to enter Italy via acquisitions’

The Online Gaming Observatory of the Milan Polytechnic University has released the latest figures for the Italian remote betting and gaming market in 2016.

According to the industry data, gross gaming revenues (GGR) for Italy’s regulated online and mobile sector in 2016 totalled €1.03 billion, up 25% on 2015.

The figures indicate that online and mobile gaming now accounts for 5.4% of Italy’s overall gaming industry.

“The Italian gaming market is now the second largest in Europe after the UK, which is considered the global benchmark for the gaming industry,” Christian Tirabassi, senior partner at Ficom Leisure, told TotallyGaming.com.

“This growth was achieved on account of the differences in regulating the gambling industry in Italy. The model carried out by the Italian Gaming Authority (ADM) was built through dynamic regulation that progressively strengthened the foundation for the development of the sector through blacklisting and inhibiting 6,000 dot-com websites.

“This act led the leading international suppliers of online gaming software to deny their services to unregulated operators acting on the Italian market. The objective was to make the Italian legal gaming market more competitive and attractive compared to illegal gambling.”

The data collected by the Doxa Research Institute on gaming in Italy shows that players’ spending on illegal sites is decreasing, while spending in the legal gaming sector is increasing. These results are of crucial importance to the Italian industry, which contributed €247 million to the state budget in 2016, representing an increase of 21% from 2015.

Currently, there are 84 operators active in the online gaming market in Italy. Eight operators left the market over the past year, which is in line with previous years, although the entrance of large operators raised the concentration in the market. “We are currently seeing a lot of interest from operators not yet in the market to enter Italy via acquisitions,” Tirabassi said.

With offices in London, Rome, Madrid, Malta and Miami, Ficom Leisure is an advisory and consultancy company specialised in the offline and online betting and gaming industry since 1996.

Discussing the latest online gaming figures in more detail, Tirabassi stated: “In 2016, the online gaming market in Italy experienced an expansion, represented by continued growth of casino games (+35%) and sport betting (+31%), while poker games declined (-5%). It is also important to highlight the constant attention to protection of players, which is one of the main aspects of the legal online gaming circuit in Italy.”

The Italian market showed continued growth in casino games (+35% in 2016) reaching online GGR of €441 million (43% of the overall market) and sports betting (+31%) reaching a GGR of €350 million (34% of the overall market). At the same time, poker declined by 5% to a GGR of €138 million (13% of the overall market).

“The remaining 10% (€97 million) of the market is composed of ‘other games’, including bingo, lotteries and virtual betting. This category increased by 20% in 2016 to €97 million from €81 million in 2015 thanks to almost all games, including the traditional ones (bingo, horse racing, lotteries).”

In terms of spending, the mobile gaming sub-sector reached €233 million of GGR in 2016 (+50%). The market penetration rate rose to 23% compared to 19% in 2015. 84% of the total spending is generated via smartphones, which has become the main channel of mobile gaming, compared to 57% in 2013.

“The government’s tax take from online gambling was about €250 million in 2016,” said Tirabassi. “The main revenue contributors were casino games and sports betting, which together generate more than two-thirds of the total revenues in the industry.”

Totally Gaming says: The Italian gaming industry has become more attractive in recent years, and the market has seen new entrants such as Bet365, GoldBet, Betaland, StanleyBet and SkyBet. The news that GGR for the country’s online gaming sector has risen by a staggering 25% acts as a clear demonstration that Italian players are showing less interest in playing in the unregulated sector, as the offer of the legal gaming industry in Italy becomes increasingly competitive and attractive for consumers.

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