Online poker in Europe has continued to decline as the French, Italian and Spanish markets have all reported a drop in online poker traffic and revenue. Gambling regulators in these countries have been forced to come to terms with the fact that the stringent regulations have drive away online poker players who have preferred to play other casino or sports betting games. Some online poker players have even decided to take the risk and play at illegal poker websites as these websites have very few regulations, no taxes and the rewards are a lot higher.
Italy gambling legislator AAMS is currently debating the possibility of launching a shared international liquidity in Europe in an effort to arrest the decline of online poker and provide poker players with more options to play and enjoy the game. The concept of rolling out a shared international liquidity will be discussed during the country’s upcoming gambling legislation process.
In a statement, gaming lawyer Giulio Coraggio said
Italian gaming laws are going to be considerably amended as part of the so-called Delega Fiscale law which, among others, is likely to change the regime of sports betting and poker tournament to 20-percent Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR). In the last draft of such law, a new provision was introduced to allow the management of games by the Italian gambling regulator, AAMS, together with the authorities of other countries
The new law will empower AAMS to take the initiative and work with other EU nations to build a robust gambling policy that will allow each country to work with a shared international liquidity policy and help to revive the online poker industry in Europe.
The change in Italy’s gambling legislation has not been made public yet and it will be interesting to see how legislators have framed the regulations as the new policy must meet both legal and technical requirements at all times.
The decline of online poker, however, has been compensated by the growth of other verticals as online casino gambling and sports betting, which became the actual drivers of the industry.
The online casino industry had a 6.7% growth rate in 2014 when compared to 2013 and brought in around €255 million. Online slots were responsible for generating the highest amount of revenue amongst all the online casino games. The sports betting industry had a growth rate of 11% in 2014 when compared to 2013 and football continued to have the most amount of bets.