Italy’s online boom fails to materialise

12th October 2011 6:24 am GMT

Much had been expected of September’s online poker and casino figures but, according to estimates published in the first week of October, the expected leap in turnover has failed to materialise.

Launched mid-July, cash poker and a limited range of casino games (with slots due in Q1 2012) appeared to have caught the imagination of the Italian public during the summer months and reversed the monthly decline of the first half of the year, but with punters back from the beaches a substantial boost to spend had been expected.

However, according to the estimates released by specialist newswire Agicos, cash poker grew by barely 1% - from €894m in August to €904m last month – while spending on casino products managed a more respectable double-digit percentage increase (from €223m to €275m). However, with margin of only 5% from the new products, operators had been hoping for more substantial levels of business.

Italian Online Cash Poker - September 2011

OperatorTurnover €mMarket Share %
PokerStars 208.4 23.1
Microgame 191.0 21.1
Lottomatica 135.0 14.9
GD/bwin/Party 130.5 14.4
Cogetech 29.5 3.3
Eurobet 28.5 3.2
Merkur Win 5.3 0.6
Intralot 1.0 0.1
Others 173.8 19.2

The €102.7m spent on tournament poker – the only version of the game available until July – was, not surprisingly, only half of that recorded in September 2010 but was nevertheless up on the €94m generated in the previous month.

Italian Tournament Poker - September 2011

OperatorTurnover €mMarket Share %
PokerStars 37.1 36.1
Microgame 16.9 16.5
bwin 14.5 14.1
Lottomatica 12.8 12.5
SNAI 4.0 3.9
Sisal 3.6 3.5
Eurobet 1.6 1.6
Cogetech 0.8 0.8
Betclic 0.6 0.6
Intralot 0.4 0.4
Merkur Win 0.2 0.2
Others 10.2 9.9

Although the figures are far from comforting, some operators will be happy with their performance. Having led the way with tournament poker for the best part of a year, PokerStars is the early leader in the cash games ranking. In September the business turned over €208m, although market share fell back from 28% in August to 23% last month.  Sites connected to white label provider Microgame generated spend of €191m (21% share) whilst Lottomatica, with turnover of €135m (15% market share) and the Gioco Digitale/bwin/PartyPoker network (€130.5m – 14,4%) were in third and fourth place respectively. The same four companies also feature among the top four tournament poker companies, with PokerStars leading the way with turnover of €37m and share of 36%.

The same estimates indicate that Lottomatica leads the online casino market, turning over €102m in September, 37% of the total. However for more detailed information on the sector, and exact figures on each of the online products, it will be necessary to wait for the gaming authority data which is typically released in the latter part of each month.

With the gaming sector as a whole performing strongly (thanks in large part to the introduction of VLTs and a new Lotto game), online operators will be watching anxiously for signs of an upturn in business to generate the returns on the recent substantial investments they have been required to make.

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