Swedish casino games developer NetEnt has made a move to enter the lucrative Italian retail gaming sector following an agreement with Gauselmann subsidiary Merkur Gaming Italia.

Having entered the land-based sector for the first time last year with William Hill in the UK, NetEnt will now target the Italian Comma 6a market (also known as AWPs) - the single largest gaming machine market in Europe with over 350,000 machines in operation.

The licensing agreement will see Merkur distribute NetEnt’s content across its 3,000 gaming machines installed in Italy. The deal also enables Merkur to distribute NetEnt’s games to machines owned by other companies.

“I’m very excited about working together with Gauselmann,” said Enrico Bradamante, NetEnt’s chief of European market operations and managing director of NetEnt Malta. “This partnership combines our vast online gaming experience and award-winning digital games with one of the world leaders in the land-based gaming machine industry.”

Initially the agreement covers two of NetEnt’s most successful games, Starburst and Eggomatic, which are expected to launch by the first quarter of 2017.

Roberto Migliozzi, managing director of Merkur Gaming Italia, said: “I’m delighted to announce that NetEnt games content will soon be available in our games portfolio of Italian Comma 6a machines and I’m confident that players will be amazed by the quality of these games.

“NetEnt is a valued partner and I’m thrilled that we are now able to offer their games to Italian consumers.”

Shares in NetEnt AB (Co. Data) (STO:NET-B) were trading down 1.96 per cent at SEK75.00 per share in Stockholm earlier Tuesday.