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Italy Prepares to Enter the Online Gaming World

7 February 2011 by admin

This is the year that Italy finally moves all the way into the online gambling and online casino world. While they have allowed online poker tournaments since 2009, as well as online bingo and online sports betting, they did not allow regular online poker playing or any other online casino gambling. All of that is going to change this year though. Italy is one of the first countries attached to the European mainland to legalize and regulate online casino gambling.

The cause for the legalization and regulation of online casino gambling for Italy is, of course, revenue based. I said ‘revenue,’ US lawmakers, you can listen now. Prior to legalizing online gambling the online gambling market in Italy sat at €4.8 billion. That translates to $6,518,722,558.57. And do not forget those 57 cents—the IRS would not. Think about it, an online gaming market valued at the US equivalent of $6.5 billion, and on online poker tournaments, online bingo and online sports betting alone. That is a lot of money in one year.

Now let’s take a look at the projections for the changes coming with the legalization of regular online poker play and regular online casino gaming, because while that is a 28% increase over 2009, the online gaming market in Italy as it is now is beginning to stabilize. Not that that is a bad thing, it just means that growth is no longer likely at a profitable rate that the Italians are liking. Hence, the decision to legalize and regulate online gambling in general. Stefano Acciavatti, from TrustPartners, a consulting firm, said that “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.”

This translates to mean that while the current online gambling offerings are not falling by the wayside, the growth and volume are down. And the Italians are not wanting a loss in revenue. So regular online poker will go live this March, with all other online casino gambling to open up this summer. Revenue in regards to regular online poker alone is being projected at around €200 million ($271,658,452.18) for 2010 and close to €1 billion ($1.3 billion) in 2012. From regular online poker playing alone! As for the projected revenue from all other online casino gambling, TrustPartners has put it at around €400 million ($543 million) for 2010. Now imagine what that 2012 figure will look like. Acciavatti has said, “In 2011, overall turnover might double in value and will further increase in 2012.”

Already online casino software providers are lining up. Imagine them perched on the rim of a valley waiting for the signal to descend. Microgaming powered Prima Networks is an often mentioned name in this race, while Neomobile is running neck and neck with another Microgaming partner, Spin3, for a shot at the mobile online casino market.

Now think of all that revenue that will be powering into Italy over the next two years. That is the kind of revenue that the United States could use. Hence the reason why the conservative base needs to remove their heads from the sand and go forward with legalizing and regulating online gambling within the US. I know they mean well, saving us from ourselves, but hundreds of thousands of US citizens are already gambling online—why not go ahead and take the steps to legalize, regulate and generate some revenue from something that is already happening.

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