Italian online gaming market opens up even more

ItalyThe European Commission has received a ministerial decree from the Italian authorities announcing the fact that they will regulate betting exchanges in Italy. This announcement when accepted by the Italian government will increase competition in the Italian market and make it an almost fully open market for online gaming operators from outside the state of Italy.Unlike some European countries Italy has not sought to ban online gambling but rather to legalise and regulate the industry. So far each European country tends to regulate its own industry. Legislation on internet gambling was passed in 2006 and so it has been legal to gamble online in Italy. The 2006 legislation opened the market to land based and online sports betting and further legislation in 2009 permitted live poker games. In 2010 the Italian online gaming market was worth over 4 billion euros and it continues to grow. (See article: Online Casinos in Italian in Great Form). According to AAMS, the Italian State Monopolies Administration (Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato) the level of gaming bets for 2011 rose by just over 25%. This growth has been due in part to the government opening up the market to casino games and online poker. The 200 new gaming licences issued By AAMS from March 2011 cover lotteries, betting, bingo, card games and games of skill among others.William Hill, a leading European and UK sports betting and gaming company, Ladbrokes, also a leader in online sports betting and gaming and 888Casino, the online gaming group have benefited from these Italian licences. Betfair, one of the largest internet sports betting providers and also the largest betting exchange in the world, is pleased with the announcement that the Italian authorities will regulate online betting exchanges. Italy would represent a huge market for Betfair and also for other online gaming operators.

The Italian government has been legalising and regulating online gaming over the past few years. AAMS sought the services of eCOGRA, (eCommerce & Online Gaming Regulation & Assurance). Founded in 2003 it is a non-profit organisation whose main aim is to establish norms for online cash games in order to protect players’ interests. It will monitor Italian gaming to ensure that the market meets the requirements for responsible gaming. With the opening up of the market this is an important consideration for Italy’s millions of online players and the licensed providers who operate there.

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