Monday June 4, 2012 : FOUR MONTHS OF ITALIAN ONLINE POKER ACTION
 
Latest AAMS report covers January to April in the Italian market….and the overall picture is one of a decline in revenues
 
The first four months of 2012 have not been entirely happy ones for the online poker business in Italy, which has seen a decline in gross gaming revenues from cash games of almost 26.6 percent, according to the latest numbers from the Italian regulator AAMS. The picture on the tournament side has been a little better, but GGR is still down 12 percent compared to the same period last year.
 
The Italian giant Microgame's People's Network continues to be the market leader, but only just as Pokerstars.it catches up, increasing its share of the market to 26 percent, less than a percentage point behind its main rival.
 
Analysts point out that the Italian decline mirrors to some extent the even larger slip in internet poker stats provided recently by the French regulator ARJEL.
 
It would be easy to lay the declines at the door of the Euro crisis, but that does not appear to be the case, with online casino and sports betting attracting improved wagering activity.
 
That suggests that either a slip in popularity or over-taxation – or both – may be the underlying issues. Operators in Italy currently pay a hefty 20 percent gross profit tax – significantly above the level independently assessed as being conducive to market growth – and there is little prospect of tax reductions.