Italy in numbers
Italy is Europe’s biggest gambling market,
with private- and public-sector gaming
accounting for 54.4bn in consumer spend
during 2009 (up 14.4 percent on the
previous year) – that’s 3.5 percent of GDP
and represents about five percent of the typical family budget.
That rising trend looks set to continue this
year, with January takings up 15.5 percent on the same month in 2009, and most observers concur that the arrival of Comma 6b games on the market can only grow total takings,
even if the VLTs do cannibalise other types of gaming a little.
Of total takings, about 45 percent goes to
slots and 30 percent goes online. Sports
betting (growing moderately), horse-race betting (in decline) and lotteries (doing well thanks to SuperEnalotto) make up most of the balance. The country has just four casinos, despite inventing the word (it means “little house” in Italian).
There are about 350,000-400,000 slots in
100,000 venues (estimates vary), on average
replacing the other, then, it seems slots and VLTs are likely to coexist quite happily, and many vendors are broadening their product ranges to include both. Italy’s own Magic Dreams, for example, had AWPs and slots at Enada – including the new Crazy Duke multireel game and Extra 5 – although it still said VLTs were the highlight. It launched two Comma 6b cabinets, the upright Ego and slant-top ST500, as well as a range of multireel games and MD Poker.
Merkur reported enthusiasm among Italian visitors
for its Merkur Magic VLT, using ADP Gauselmann technology, adding that the new VLT-Jackpot – so far available only for the Italian market – “really drew in the crowd”.
Apex Gaming, too, will be hoping that the arrival of
VLTs will further strengthen Italian demand for its products and services, which had already been growing even before Comma 6b devices came on the scene.
Local firm Gamenet also made VLTs a focus of its
Enada presence, with product from manufacturers such as Novomatic, Gtech’s Spielo, and WinTek, while
Said Sales Director Colin Veitch: “Eurocoin has
been extensively involved since 2009 with all the key Italian and international players in this new business model. This has allowed us to secure multiple product line sales to both manufacturers and operators in this important emerging sector.”
Other likely beneficiaries include firms like MEI
and Money Controls, prominent among the many payment systems providers at Enada, while Eurispea, working with the Unigioco foundation, is offering what is described as the first professional training course for gaming managers in Italy, prompted by the increasing size and complexity of the market.
Perhaps significantly, even
firms that don’t plan to play in the VLT niche see the developments in Italian regulation as significant. For example, at Microgaming – which has just launched an online Poker service in the country, with Ladbrokes as the first operator, and hopes to move into online casino games too – CEO Roger Raatgever said: “Italy is an important region for the future of gaming in Europe, as it has set the standard for other countries wishing to introduce gaming regulations – it is a crucial gateway for further EU expansion.”
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taking 60,000-70,000 annually.
They could now be joined by up to 56,697
VLTs offering maximum bets of 10.
The Enada event, held twice annually and
covering amusements as well as gambling, is testament to the size of the Italian market. This March at the Adriatic resort of Rimini, it
attracted 28,865 visitors – 13 percent up on
last year – of whom 86 percent were Italian. More than 400 companies exhibited or had their products featured by partners.
not ignoring another market – online Poker, for which it was showing off its All In Poker platform.
And the new devices will not only open up new
markets for the obvious game and platform vendors. Many other elements of the gaming supply chain also stand to benefit – for example Eurocoin, which reported strong sales for VLT printers and tickets. The Epic 950 gaming printer is expected to accompany many of the first VLT installations.
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