And the winner of best 2019 gambling performance in Italy is….online casinos operators! The vertical outranked retail wagering over the last twelve months, increasing revenue by an impressive 17.1% to €831.4m. Wow.
Profits Galore for Online Betting
December ended the year with a bang, seeing online casino profits shooting up nearly 21% to €85.1m. During the big month, the Stars Group’s PokerStars grabbled the biggest slice at 10.4% of 2019’s online casino bounty. They stayed well ahead of local lads Sisal (8.1%) and Lottomatica (7.9%).
In newly-released data, while sports betting slowed, it generated €1.59b from both online and land-based venues, a 7.4% improvement over the prior year. So says the Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM), the country’s regulatory body.
Compare this to retail betting up 3.2% to €867.5m. For the record, online betting improved 13.2% to €725.2m.
The stats show that online casino revenue nearly doubled at the end of the year to reach €91m, while retail wagering soared 153% to €125m. The big standout was Bet365, getting top honors for the month. Second in line was Playtech’s Snaitech division. In third, the trophy goes to SkS365.
Bad News for Poker
Online poker continued to be sluggish, with tournament revenue dropping 5.2% to €77.6m. Cash games didn’t fare much better, declining 7.8% to €60.1m.
PokerStars was responsible for lion’s share of both tournament (60.4%) and cash games (41.8%) revenue. Sisal was the runner-up here with a 7.3% share, while Lottomatica came in second in cash games with 6.9%.
Better news is that the summer Euro 2020 tournament is coming, and Italy’s sports betting operators will likely get a boost at the time.
Of note, this is the first major international football competition under Italy’s new advertising and sponsorship restrictions. No doubt we will see practices adjusted from previous years.
Overall, however, Italy’s land-based operators are facing fresh challenges in 2020. The government just approval of tax hikes on slots and video lottery terminal (VLT) revenue.
Slots will now be taxed at 23.85% (+2.17) while VLTs will face a rate of 8.5% (+0.6). Customers will face a 20% tax on VLT winnings above €200 and lottery winnings over €500.
New legislation is expected to make gambling operators less attractive; but no one would be surprised to see new concessions.