Category Archives: Italy

Winamax acquires Bet-at-home’s Italian market concession

winamax-bet-at-home-italy-online-pokerFrench online poker operator Winamax has made a big bet that Italian politicians won’t block plans to share poker liquidity among European Union regulated markets.

This week, Italian gaming affiliate Agipro News reported that Winamax had acquired the Italian online gambling concession of Bet-at-home, the German subsidiary of French operator Betclic Everest Group. The report offered no indication what price Winamax paid to obtain the concession, nor why Bet-at-home decided la dolce was no longer so vita.

Winamax’s French-licensed site withdrew its services from Italy in 2015 due to “the Italian legislation on gaming.” But recently, Winamax has signalled its eagerness to return to the Boot, including the signing this month of a sponsorship deal with Mustapha Kanit, Italy’s all-time live poker tournament winner.

Winamax’s renewed interest in Italy’s online poker market isn’t necessarily based on how the market is currently performing. Online poker has been on a negative trajectory for some time, posting another 10% year-on-year revenue decline in 2016, although recent monthly figures have been slightly more encouraging.

No, Winamax’s interest is more likely due to the online poker liquidity sharing deal signed this summer between Italy and three other EU regulated online gambling markets: France, Portugal and Spain. None of these poker markets is particularly thriving (unless your name is PokerStars), and licensees in all four nations are expecting a performance boost from the deal.

But Italy’s participation in this fearsome foursome is anything but assured. Earlier this month, some Italian politicians began making noises about “an immediate intervention” intended to “prevent the continuation of this project,” which they claim will increase money laundering activity while decreasing consumer protections.

Winamax appears suitably confident that Italy will go ahead with the deal as written. Italy’s government was supposed to open a tender for new online gambling licenses in September but this process has met with as-yet unexplained delays. These new licenses reportedly won’t take effect until early next year but Winamax apparently isn’t interested in waiting.


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PlanetWin365 new #2 in Italy’s online sports betting market

italy-online-sports-betting-planetwin365The SKS365 Group’s PlanetWin365 betting brand held on to second place in Italy’s online revenue charts for the second straight month.

Figures compiled by Italian gaming news agency show Italian-licensed online sports betting sites handling total wagers of €486.6m in the month of May, down roughly 10% from April’s €542m handle. The combined online and land-based betting handle totaled €860m.

As usual, Bet365’s Italian site claimed the largest slice (€150.2m) of the online betting pie, but PlanetWin365 ranked second for the second straight month with €49.1m, edging out Gala Coral’s Eurobet brand at €46.5m. Snaitech and Sisal rounded out the top five with €31.4m and €31.1m, respectively.

The online casino vertical reported revenue of €46.3m, up €1.1m from the previous month but a full one-third higher than the casino vertical reported in May 2016. Lottomatica remained top casino dog with a 10% share, followed by Sisal (7.5%), Amaya Gaming’s PokerStars brand (7.2%), Eurobet (6.9%) and William Hill (5.8%).

As for online poker, GiocoNews reported that tournament entry fees totaled €6.9m, €300k higher than in April and a 16.7% year-on-year improvement. As ever, PokerStars dominated this category, claiming 65.5% of all tournament fees. Poker cash game revenue totaled €5.4m, down €200k from April and 8.3% below May 2016’s figure.

On the land-based front, Italy’s four brick-and-mortar casinos have earned a combined €119.3m over the first five months of 2017, with nearly two-thirds (63.3%) of that sum coming via slots.

Speaking of spinning reels, the Italian legislature’s lower house recently confirmed plans to reduce the nation’s complement of video lottery terminals (VLTs) by 140k machines. The cull, which is to be completed by April 1, 2018, represents about one-third of the total 407k VLTs currently whirring and buzzing in some 80k small venues across the country.

The lower house also approved plans to boost the tax on slot machine revenue by 1.5 points to 19%, while VLT taxes will rise half a point to 6%. On Thursday, Italy’s Senate gave its approval to these plans.

Meanwhile, the city of Rome has approved new restrictions on where VLTs and other electronic gaming machines (EGM) can be located. The changes, previewed last November by Rome’s major Virginia Raggi, prohibit new EGMs from being installed in any venue located within 500m of a ‘sensitive’ place, i.e. schools, churches, youth centers, etc.). Existing EGM venues will learn what fate Rome has in store for them within 120 days.



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Malta regulator suspends online license of CenturionBet/Bet1128

malta-suspend-centurionbet-bet1128-online-gambling-licenseMalta’s gaming regulators have suspended the online gambling license of CenturionBet Ltd, which operates the Bet1128 brand.

On Tuesday, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) announced that it had suspended CenturionBet’s remote gambling license, and ordered the company to “indefinitely suspend all gaming operations, cease to register new players, suspend all transactions on all websites, including deposits and withdrawals,” and fully comply with MGA requests for data and documentation.

The MGA notice insists that all websites operating under CenturionBet’s license are “not approved to be operational by the Authority.” However, at present, the site still prominently displays the MGA logo and the suspended MGA/CL2/527/2008 license number.

Italian gaming news agency Agimeg quoted a CenturionBet statement saying the MGA had “identified procedural irregularities in signing contracts with consultants.” The company expressed “deep regret” over the kerfuffle, while insisting that it had “acted in full compliance” with its regulatory obligations and promising that “all the payment activities of the winnings will be guaranteed.”

Last month, Agimeg reported that CenturionBet had attempted to sell 80% of its operations for €12m to online gambling operator SKS365, which operates in Italy under the Planetwin brand. SKS365 claimed that it receives lots of these types of offers, but that these particular negotiations “did not materialize.”

The CenturionBet/Bet1128 business has a colorful history in Italy, where investigators have fingered the site’s owner as Francesco Martiradonna, who has been linked to the Sacra Corona Unita crime syndicate. Last October, the Martiradonna family’s lawyer denied any links between the family and CenturionBet, despite Italian media reports that linked two Martiradonna brothers as managers of gambling operations that shared Maltese addresses with CenturionBet.

Two years ago, Italian authorities launched a major crackdown on the illegal gambling operations of Malta-licensed online betting site Betuniq, which was accused of having ties to the ‘Ndrangheta crime family. The MGA subsequently suspended the licenses of a number of associated online operators.

A more recent anti-mafia operation that Italian authorities dubbed ‘Jonny’ linked the CenturionBet operations to the ‘Ndrangheta syndicate, which reportedly earned €1.3m over a 17-month period for allowing CenturionBet to set up internet-connected retail operations on ‘Ndrangheta-controlled territory.



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Italy seeks thirty% reduction in slots outside the house casinos

September eight, 2016


italy-reduction-slots-bars-cafes-shopsItaly’s best legislator has pledged to pursue a approximately a single-third reduction in the number of gaming devices in bars, cafes, newsagents and accommodations.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi gave an interview to a regional magazine in which he claimed his administration was “developing a evaluate to eliminate [slots] from tobacconists and shops” in a bid to reduce gaming’s effect on youth and other susceptible segments of modern society.

Financial undersecretary Pier Paolo Baretta followed up this assertion by stating the authorities prepared “a reorganization which takes into account social desire and for that reason presents for a drastic reduction of [amusement with prizes devices] in the territory, accounting for thirty p.c.”

Baretta claimed the authorities would target slots centered on their bodily proximity to “sensitive areas,” presumably referring to the regular schools, churches, etcetera. Baretta claimed the aim was to “find a solution that does not simply call into problem the selections created ​​so considerably by regional authorities but make them suitable with a far more extensive regulatory framework.”

Not all people is certain the authorities signifies business enterprise, specifically due to the fact the reduction in the number of slots would direct to the reduction of tens of millions of euros in tax profits. But Baretta statements that the thirty% slots cull “was by now furnished for by the law of stability in 2016” and thus holds no “complicated consequences” for the state finances.

Baretta also claimed the slots reduction would not direct to the authorities approving new gaming halls to which the eradicated slots could be transferred. Baretta insisted that the government’s aim was “to minimize the overall supply” whilst declaring that the authorities would not move forward until eventually it experienced reached some kind of accommodation with regional directors.

Italy’s 4 land-centered casinos created profits of €203m over the first 8 months of 2016, with slots accounting for 61% of the overall take.

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