A major action by Italian police authorities against online gaming sites might be a switching point for the Italian market.

After the two major actions against illegal gaming sites taken by the Italian police in 2015 in a day that has been renamed the Italian black Wednesday. A further action has now taken place as part of the so called “JammJamm” operation.

The JammJamm operation

The Italian police arrested 8 persons and adopted home restriction measures against other 10 people that apparently were involved in a major illegal activity.

According to the information available, a criminal organization had installed in a number of bars and public places some “ordinary” computers allowing to access to non-Italian licensed poker websites. Such websites used robots which created “virtual” players that were seating at online poker tables with real players and coordinating their actions so that the real players were prevented from obtaining relevant winnings. Because of such “programmed” collusion, the crimes challenged to the individuals behind such sites is not only the illegal offering of games, but also computer fraud.

What are the effects on the Italian online gaming market?

The major issue of the Italian gaming market has been so far the lack of enforcement actions against non-Italian licensed websites and operators. It seems that the actions taken by Italian police authorities during the last months are showing a stricter approach which might convince some operators to apply for an Italian license as over 2,000 betting shops (the so called “CTDs“) did in 2015. The timing of such actions is favorable since a tendering process awarding 15,000 betting shop and corner shop licenses as well as 120 online gaming licenses is expected to be launched in the next months.

The entrance of new operators in the Italian licensed market will be beneficial for the existing operators as well. Indeed, as occurred in the past, such new entrants will also bring players that used to play on foreign licensed websites. And once players join the licensed market, they are expect to stay in there so becoming potential targets also for the other licensed operators.

The regulator is accelerating the process for the award of at least new online gaming licenses and we cannot exclude that some new entrants might scramble the current dynamics of the Italian market.