Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport, a sporting tabloid owned by media giant RCS MediaGroup, today launched its Playtech-powered and managed iGaming offering GazzaBet.it.

The desktop and mobile sportsbook will be operated by Playtech under an initial five-year agreement with RCS - with the option to extend by a further five year -, and marks the supplier's entry into the regulated Italian sports betting market.

"This is a landmark deal for Playtech and cements our position as the leading supplier of sports and gaming technology and services in regulated markets," Playtech chief operating officer Shay Segev commented. "We are extremely excited to be partnering with such an iconic sports news brand and the potential it has to drive market growth for both parties."

The launch of the site is said to be in response to research which showed that there is a strong interest in online gaming among Gazzetta's readers, although the editorial staff were less enthusiastic, staging a two-day strike in protest at the move in January. In an editorial published at the time, the journalists argued that the launch of a branded sports betting website would damage the independence and editorial integrity of the publication, as well as causing a conflict of interest for RCS.

RCS management argued at the time that there would be no damage or  conflict of interest as the offering would not be operated in-house. 

Commenting on today's launch, Alessandro Bompieri, general manager of RCS' media division, said he was extremely pleased to launch the new gambling product for readers, noting that many had been waiting for a "sophisticated sports betting website for a long time."

"We are very proud of our offering and, as of today, of a portal like GazzaBet that is secure, protected and advanced thanks to the extraordinary experience of Playtech," he added. 

This marks the second launch of a branded sports betting site for an RCS publication, after Spanish subsidiary Unidad Editorial launched a GTECH-powered site under its Spanish daily sports newspaper brand MARCA.

Coinciding with the launch, Gazzetta dello Sport has agreed a partnership with Serie A football club AS Roma, which will see the pair collaborate on marketing, commercial and editorial initiatives.

“We are pleased to welcome Gazzetta dello Sport as the latest partner in the AS Roma family,” the club’s marketing director Giorgio Bambrilla commented. “It is the most read sports newspaper in Italy and at the same time boasts a growing popularity abroad. This strategic choice meets the ambitions of the club in increasing its national and international presence.”

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