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Italian Poker Market Continues Contraction

The Italian igaming market managed to eke out a modest gain in 2012, as newly introduced products offset widespread declines in the latter half of the year.  

Gross gaming revenue from poker, sports, casino, bingo and other products was €749 million, up 2% from €735 million in 2011, AAMS reported.

Amounts staked on slots, which launched in early December, helped boost online casino revenues by 40% month-over-month. Casino products, the only vertical to record a revenue increase in the second half of 2012, have spiked nearly 200% in the last year.

Italy’s online poker market declined 6% in 2012, with cash games and tournaments generating €361 million in revenue. Since AAMS published its last report in August, amounts staked on ring games fell by more than 30% in each of the final four months of the year, while tournament poker also suffered double-digit declines in the autumn.

The sharp contraction in the market in the second half of 2012 highlights concerns over the viability of segregated player pools. AAMS first expressed doubts last summer after publishing its first full-year comparatives for cash games revealed that the online poker market had dipped 32% since August 2011.

AAMS is holding discussions with regulatory counterparts in Spain and other EU member states in hopes of pooling liquidity. Currently, PokerStars remains the dominant operator in the ring-fenced market, with a market share of 43% for tournaments and 37% for cash games.





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