The data just published on the Italian online gaming market shows positive figures for casino and sportsbetting while poker has been declining with a slight recovery at the end of the year.

As every year the University of Milan held a conference of presentation of the results of their research on the Italian online gaming market where they showed interesting results that were coupled with the comments of support from the regulator.

The Gross Gaming Revenues of the Market

The GGR achieved by the online gaming market in 2014 is of € 728 million which is 0.4% higher than in the previous year.  However, while casino and sportsbetting respectively grew by 8% and 11%, the GGR for poker games dropped by 20%.

The Growth of Casino Games

The growth of casino games was mainly led by slot games which generate 57% of the GGR of casino games.  And the main reason of such growth might have been the decision by major game suppliers to stop offering their games to operators targeting the Italian market without holding an Italian remote gaming license.  The next future should be positive since the full benefits of such decision should be obtained in 2015.

The Growth of Sportsbetting

It was a very positive year for sportsbetting.  And such growth was due mainly to

  • The liberalization of the sector and indeed 13% of bets placed in 2014 were “customized bets” previously prohibited with a substantial growth of live bets that are now 48% of the total bets with 60% of the total bets that are now single bets; and
  • The entrance in the market of major new operators which made the market more attractive and will hopefully be followed by other operators during the course of the year.

These good news will be hopefully coupled with a new 20% GGR tax regime for sportsbetting that is currently discussed by the Government.

Also, the growth of bets of virtual events (which is massive in the land based sector) and betting exchange might be better appreciated in 2015.

The Decline of Poker

The decline of poker is not new to the market.  Indeed the launch of cash poker games and casino considerably damaged poker tournament games.  However, new poker game mechanics offered by market leaders at the end of the year increased the interest in the sector.

Innovation is the key for the growth

The growth of mobile gaming was an interesting news.  Indeed, mobile gaming generated a GGR of € 99 million which represents 14% of the market, but such data increases to 26.5% for sportsbetting and 10.4% for casino games.

It is also interesting that the online gaming represents still only 4.2% of the whole gaming sector in Italy, while for instance e-commerce is 3% of the much larger B2C sales sector.  Such data shows that there is still a considerable room for growth and such growth comes from innovation.

And the position taken by the gaming regulator was exactly towards such director.  They view has been that in order to fight against the unlicensed market, the regulator shall push for innovative products able to attract players to the licensed market.

Regardless of some comments by some operators, the outlook of the market is positive, but both operators and regulators shall push for a higher level of innovation.