Italy’s Promising Internet Gambling Future
By staff
The Media and Entertainment Consulting Network (MECN) has released a report describing Italy as one of the most promising for online and offline perspectives.

The London-based group has published a report, The Italian Gambling Market, A Forerunner in the Liberalisation of European Gambling Markets, which stated that the speed with which Italy reversed its prohibition against online gambling to embark on a more liberal and regulatory approach still a talking point in gambling circles.

The report stated that the recent European Court of Justice’s favourable decision in the Placanica case was a watershed in Italian gambling affairs. This was followed by the invitation to tender, which allowed online and land-based gambling operators to enter the liberalised Italian market with possibilities in the region now the focus of many major gambling groups.

Since this ruling, Italy has granted 14,000 new betting licenses, mainly for sports and horse race betting shops and terminals, from the beginning of 2007 to leading international gambling operators including include Ladbrokes, Intralot, William Hill, Betfair and Gala/Eurobet.

MECN's study and survey analysed the Italian gambling market in detail and included the results of enquiries from more than 70 international operators. It found that another phase of liberalisation is expected in the near future with a large majority of experts believing that by 2010 international operators, such as Ladbrokes and Intralot, will capture a relevant share of the gambling market.

MECN said that, overall, Italy’s gambling market is expected to reach $84 billion in total turnover by 2010, an increase of 64 percent, with the retail betting market to grow to around $19 billion, twice its current size. It also said that interactive gambling could reach $5.1 billion by 2010, growing by nearly 240 percent.

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