espite being one of the first European countries to legalise egaming and now having such a huge online gambling market, revenues are expected to grow even more in the country as two important changes are to be made to the industry in 2011.
Up until now, Italians have had to content themselves playing solely online poker tournaments as cash games are not permitted in Italy. In addition, there exists an outright ban on online casino gambling inside the country but that is all about to change over the coming months as these two new gambling verticals are introduced.
As far as Italian gaming analysts are concerned, the addition of online poker cash games couldn’t come at a better time as they believe the poker market had stabilised and was in need of a further boost to growth. As Stefano Acciavatti of TrustPartners explains:
“Even if game accounts and revenues for poker increased in 2010 with respect to 2009, during the last four to five months of last year there were clear signs of stabilization. Game sessions, tournaments and amount of money spent per each game were down in number and volume compared to the comparable period in 2009.”
However, the addition of poker cash games is expected to add another 400 million euros to margins in 2011, with online casinos also adding a further €200 million in 2011 and €1 billion in 2012.
With online poker cash games now expected to be introduced in March and online casino in summer, major operators are already positioning themselves to take advantage of the lucrative new opportunities presented. Companies already manoeuvring for a slice of the business include Neomobile and Prima Networks Limited.