Italy Online Poker Future is Bleak

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:
Italy Online Poker Future is Bleak

For a time, Italy had become one of the most lucrative online poker epicenters with its population just shy of 60 million.

But with poker players unable to connect with those from outside the country, PokerStars essentially ate up whatever player pool there was.  Their Italian site is currently the 6th most trafficked in the world according to PokerScout.com.  Ongame, Peoples Network and iPoker all rank among the bottom 20.

Ouirino Mancini, a partner with SCM Lawyers, pretty much summed it all up at the World GES conference in Barcelona Tuesday

“In principle, this is a market where operators want to be. However, it is also a very crowded market which is entering a new consolidation and integration phase.

“The tax model is not ideal but at least it shows some attention to the needs of the market, of the operators.

“A few operators are doing very well but the majority are simply surviving. PokerStars is doing well, as is Lottomatica, 888 too – and others. If I were a licensed operator in Italy I would feel as if I was being viewed as dodgy, as risky – falling under suspicion,” said Mancini.

And for that reputation, Mancini notes, operators are paying big bucks.

“(But) these companies have invested a lot in Italy, paid good money in taxes and public perception is so important – to be seen as a legitimate business contributing a lot of tax,” he added.

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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