Forecast for Online Gambling in Italy in 2011

A significant reformation of Italian gambling laws, began in 2006, has almost been completed.

Online bingo games in Italy - GamingZion

A significant reformation of Italian gambling laws, began in 2006, has almost been completed. Still, essential matters remain to be dealt with by the Amministrazione Autonoma Monopoli di Stato (AAMS, the Italian Gaming Authority). The regulator must take actions regarding mobile gambling, betting, and bingo.

• There actually aren’t any regulatory problems with regards to mobile gambling in Italy. However, mobile gaming platforms have been slow to launch within Italy for technical reasons. During this delay, a widespread misperception has developed that mobile gambling is unregulated and therefore unlawful. The AAMS can correct this merely by offering unambiguous guidelines directed at mobile gambling operators. This will entice new operators and foster investment in these products.

Internet betting in Italy is also looking to the AAMS for reform. The AAMS games portfolio includes neither a “Betting Exchange” nor options for betting on virtual events. It is anticipated that the regulator will take declare some ad hoc regulations so that these gambling products can be offered.

• Though bingo was born in Italy, online bingo games in Italy have been slow to catch on. The AAMS has only allowed 90-number based games, which in fact, is very popular in Italy. However, this restriction has created a very homogonous market. Internet bingo operators have limited opportunity to diversify and distinguish their products. The AAMS must enable licensed bingo halls to customize their products instead of just simulating the traditional Italian bingo halls.

• Moreover, currently the AAMS does not trust internet bingo operators to generate their own random numbers. Instead, platforms must be developed to retrieve number combinations from the AAMS’s own centralized servers. This adds complexity to the development process. Even mature internet bingo solutions require more effort to localize than replacing language, currency, and number formats. Furthermore, polling the AAMS servers for acceptable random numbers is a process which impacts the speed and efficiency at which the software can operate. Should the AAMS centralized servers become inoperable or unreachable, the internet bingo halls would be forced to suspend their services.

Italy has a very real chance of becoming the first region in Europe to open its domestic gambling market to foreign competition in ways that are complete, reliable, and durable over time. The country only needs to overcome these final issues. This is most noteworthy considering the country’s long and somewhat infamous history of oligopolistic cartels and local lobbying centers.

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