11/3/09 – The UK-based online gambling group Virgin Games is aiming for a 5 percent share of Italy's booming online poker market within a year of its start-up, reports the Reuters news agency, quoting the chief executive of Virgin Games, Simon Burridge, this week.
 
Virgin's online poker is operated in a revenue-sharing partnership with Italy's Cogetech SpA, and the British company sees the teamwork as boosting its chances of success and keeping down costs.
 
"We are ‘white labelling' it on the back of Cogetech," Burridge revealed. "It is a lot less expensive. Cogetech does [player] registration and the banking. For Virgin it is just a marketing operation and that is what it does best," he said.
 
The Italian venture started in "soft launch" mode in September 2009 and has already signed up 8 000 Italian players, Burridge reported.
 
"After six weeks we are on target to take 5 percent of the market after 12 months," he claimed. "The market is Euros 200 million. So by December we are looking to be [on] Euros 10 million. We are looking to break-even in five or six months," he said.
 
Since its approval just over a year ago, Italian online poker bets have risen to Euros 221 million in September 2009, Italian regulator AAMS data showed.
 
Italy's Lottomatica SpA, Snai SpA and the unlisted Sisal are among the principal operators of online poker.

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