There is great interest in the Italian gaming market from most of the major companies in the online gambling industry. The only cloud on the horizon is the recent European Court of Justice preliminary ruling earlier this year questioning whether Italian online gambling legislation may breach European Union laws concerning the issuing of gambling licences to foreign operators.
Legislation in 2006 opened up the Italian gambling market to land based and online sports betting and later legislation paved the way for live poker games. Now the Italian market is open to online casino games and online poker. In 2011 up to 200 gaming licences were issued by the Italian authorities governing gambling, the Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato. Recently there was an announcement that betting exchanges will be regulated in Italy.
All of this opening up of the Italian online gaming market has lead to great interest from operators from outside Italy who are attracted to the legal and regulated market.Recently two operators released details of their plans to expand in the Italian market. Paddy Power, the Irish online bookmaker is going to build on its involvement in the Italian online gaming market. It has experienced considerable growth in its Irish and British online gambling operations and feels that the time is right to expand in Italy. Paddy Power was founded in 1988. In 2010 almost two thirds of the company’s profits came from outside Ireland. Paddy Power is the third largest online bookmaker and the sixth largest online gaming operator in Ireland and Britain. It has expanded into Australia and France and now Italy. Mobile betting is a major growth area for the company. Paddy Power is involved in online sports betting, casino games, bingo and poker.The other operator to show an interest in expanding in Italy and joining companies such as William Hill (with William Hill Casino), Ladbrokes, Betfair and 888Casino, is Prima Networks. Prima Networks provides software services to online gaming regulated markets. The company which is based in Malta was founded in 2009. It provides poker, bingo and casino software to operators in Spain, France and Italy among other regulated markets. Last week Prima Networks announced an agreement with Tarricone Holdings Group which involves it developing a new Italian online casino which will be called Betflag.it. This casino has a licence from the Italian regulation authorities AAMS. Betflag.it will offer Italian players online sports betting and casino games.