European countries such as Greece, Belgium and Bulgaria have been in the poker news headlines recently regarding their ever growing blacklist of online gaming websites.
Greece recently expanded its blacklist to over 400 such websites while Bulgaria’s list has grown to over 100 sites and counting. While those numbers can be seen as being unnecessarily high, they are nothing when compared to the number of blacklisted online gaming sites in Italy.
The recent round of listings by the southern European country’s regulator has put the total number of blacklisted gaming sites at…wait for it…4,513. The number broke through the 4,500 mark after the Autonomous Administration of State Monopolies (AAMS) blocked a total of 34 .com gaming websites since its most recent update that came last month.
Italy boasts the largest online gaming blacklist in the world since the AAMS started the list back in 2006. The country has blacklisted nearly 645 online gaming sites per year on average, or two sites per week. No matter how one presents the statistics, the facts are that the blacklist is amazingly long.
The primary reason for the blacklisted sites is that the regulator has aggressively pursued online gaming sites that have not adhered to the country’s Finance Act. The Act states that any online gaming company wishing to operate in Italy must have a national licence granted to it by the AAMS.
While the blacklist has not been fully effective in stopping Italian players from playing on some non-licenced gaming sites, it appears to have also enhanced traffic to Italian-registered gaming services.
According to PokerScout, PokerStar’s Italian site is the sixth largest of all poker services, with a seven day average of 1,600 players. The .it sites of Ongame, PeoplesNetwork and iPoker are also in the top 20 of PokerScout’s Online Poker Traffic List, coming in 16th, 17th and 19th respectively.