uring 2016, Italians became the second biggest online betting community in Europe. According to figures from the Online Gaming Observatory (created by the Polytechnic University of Milan), two kinds of games monopolized the attention: casino and sports bets. The last one experienced a 25% increase in spending surpassing a billion dollar threshold.
Casino games in particular reached 464 million dollars with a 43% market share, while sports betting reached 370 million dollars. However, the poker tables continue to suffer dollars from a seemingly-unstoppable loss of players: their spending in 2016 totaled just 140 million dollars (-10%, in comparison with 2015.)
Poker was #1 in 2012, comprising nearly half of all online gambling's business. The remaining market share consists of all of the other forms of online gambling: from skill games to bingo, scratch cards to “Win for Life” games, virtual betting to horseracing. This miscellaneous category saw a 20% increase last year. For the first time ever, online gambling's growth dynamics have surpassed those of entertainment and show business; this has caused Italy to become the EU's second biggest market for online gambling (behind the United Kingdom.)
Among the expected developments over the course of 2017, there are preparations for a call for bids to award 120 new long-distance gaming licenses. This operation should attract new parties. “This call for bids should redefine the sector's competitive balance,” explains Samuele Fraternali, senior researcher at the Online Gaming Observatory.