report from Agipro News, a specialist agency, had said an AAMS decree to launch the latest machines is ready for ministerial signature and would start with a period of experimentation of the new kit.
"Let's say rather than ready, we are preparing. The plan has been sent to the 10 concession holders for slot machines. We are studying the project with the concession holders," an AAMS spokesman told Reuters. Approval of the measure will take more than a few weeks given the plan circulating is only a working document, he said.
Banca IMI analyst Lorenzo Re said Italy's largest gaming company Lottomatica SpA operates 51,000 slot machines. The new videolottery machines will be linked to the concession holder's network and substitution of existing machines would not take very long.
"For some machines you would not change the machines only the software," he said. "It would be an evolution with different rules, new types of games. These machines would be linked into the network and make jackpots. It is an evolution of the sector and eventually would be very positive."
In May slot machine wagers represented 46 % of Italy's 4.3 billion euros ($6 billion) total bets. In the first five months overall gambling rose 9.5 % to 21.9 billion euros, showing the sector's recession-proof qualities. On Lottomatica, Re said the company's investment in this sector is likely to boost 2009 slot machine income to 145 million euros, from 90 million euros in 2008. Lottomatica was not immediately able to comment on the plan.
Agipro News said the linking of the new terminals to the network allows for higher prizes, including up to 50,000 euros, while the pay-out ratio will rise to not less than 85 %, from current payout of 75 %.
The experimental phase would start on Sept 1 and last for two months, it said.