This year will see Italy complete the rollout of its regulated online gaming market. If all goes smoothly, the industry could be generating revenues close to €10 billion within two years.
At present, Italian players legally bet on sports and horse racing, play bingo and lotteries, and compete in poker tournaments and other skill games via the internet. Rules for poker and casino cash games were released in February. Poker games are expected to be introduced in March and full online casino gaming later this summer.
In 2010, online gaming generated €4.82 billion in revenue, up 28.2 percent on 2009 and 225 percent on 2008. Skill games, including poker tournaments, accounted for 65.2 percent of the total. Sports betting contributed 28 percent and bingo 3 percent. Various horse-racing wagers added up to 2.1 percent.
The €4.82 billion beat the €4.7 billion estimate from management consultancy TrustPartners in an October 2010 report on the Italian gaming market.
TrustPartners forecasts that the online casino business will generate €200 million in 2011 and as much as €1 billion in 2012. Poker cash games are expected to add €400 million in 2011.