Italy proving to be one of Europe’s most lucrative gambling markets

  • Gambling on the rise in Italy since full legalization
  • Economy improving but gambling trend not slowing down

The Italian public have developed a strong appetite for a wager since the door to legalization was opened in 2006.

Italy online casino
Italy’s casino market: online casinos on the rise, poker facing decline

Bloomberg reports this week that Italian consumers spent $113 billion on gambling in 2016, which is close to three times as much as the amount spent back in 2006.

A wider range of games, better safety regulations and the introduction of online play, including casinos are all credited with the increase in revenues.

Slots, lotteries and table games prove popular

Much of the $113 billion gambling haul comes from lottery games – the country’s most popular method of gambling, and from casino slots and table games.

Poker has not been as successful in Italy as it tends to be around the world, perhaps due to the tight restrictions placed on operators and players. Online poker profits have dipped by 5.3% since last year, Italian regulators reported last month.

However, Italy plans to form an online poker network with France, Spain, and Portugal, which could boost interest from players who want more competition and larger prize pools.

The national lottery in Italy attracts the largest spending, perhaps due to its exceptionally high jackpots.

The SuperEnalotto takes place three times a week, and the largest single jackpot to date was €177.7 million ($248 million), won by a lucky syndicate group of 70 players.

A single winner picked up €147.8 million ($205 million) in 2009 when they matched all of their SuperEnalotto numbers, following several weeks of rollover prizes.

Gambling industry performance surprises economists

Italy has been struggling with the effects of an economic recession, and figures reported in Bloomberg show that disposable income is down by 7%.

However, the tide is turning and the economy looks to be in recovery. When economic fortunes are good, interest in gambling often wanes slightly. Yet Italy seems to be bucking this trend, with demand for gambling increasing even as the economy stabilizes.

If the plans for a cross-nation poker network come to pass and following planned investment in online gambling services, Italy could soon own a gambling market that is sustainable, profitable and has room for further growth.

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