Category: News

02 Dec 2011

The vlt are on the borderline between taxes and new Preu

slot_coinA thriving market, in full development and quick growth. With a collection of about 10 billion euro during the current year, that for the State is about 200 million euro; with good prospects for the near future. Even “too” good prospects. At the point that the administration has been induced to “sacrifice” that part of public gaming in the new tax revising of the section, and it must answer to the request of the (outgoing) Government of 1,5 billion euro to balance the accounts of the State. The sector of the Vlts is the most affected by the new tax regulation, with a taxation of 6% on winnings above 500 euro and an increase of 1% of the revenue withdrawal, passing it from 2012 to 4%, as would have happened the following year according to the initial regulations, and instead it will go to 4,5% from 2013. Moreover, both this field and also the Aams itself have suffered the “blank” delegation of the government for finding new resources.

Lottomatica has been the first company to speak about it and, at the eve of the publication of the official measure about new taxation, had issued an official note to keep the Stock Exchange down, where the news to tax the winnings was not welcomed. As for the videolotteries (because the increase in fact is for lotteries and other games also), “Thanks to already signed agreements with the distribution chain, the increase of 1% of taxation in 2012 would produce an Ebitda incidence of about 25 million euro”, the company explained,  while in 2013 the annunced taxation increase would be of half percentage point. But the effects, according to the insiders, may be others and beyond the accounting aspects. For Alejandro Pascual, managing director of the Codere Network concessionaire, “So unespected choises risk to disconcert a system that has been calibrated on some rules and overnight somebody changes this way. It is a strong impact above all for some companies such as Codere that must assure certainty and transparency to its investors, becuase it is listed. The gaming market is asking for stability since a lot of time for strenghten the investments made and to assure economic stability to the companies of the field”. For these rasons, Pascual assumes, the measure will certainly have repercussions: “Taxation is only another “hidden” increase of Preu that will only legitimize the alienation from the legal gaming, to the advantage of that part of gaming offer that is not subject to taxation or unjust taxes and it will reduce the competitiveness of the State concessionaires to the advantage of an illegal offer that from the economic point of view is most advantageous for the player”. Giulia De Rosa, head of business development of Gmatica, thinks the same, “The rate increase causes without doubt significant problems to the return of the investment”, she says. In fact is important to consider various aspects when one makes some changes to the current structure of the market.

 

Giovanni Emilio Maggi, President of Acadi – Associazione Concessionari Apparecchi da Intrattenimento (Association of the concessionaires of amusement machines) – expresses “concern” for the introduction of this new rule, because it is “too much unbalanced on the measures about taxation”. As Stefano Bortoli, ceo of the group Snai, understands the ratio of the rule, but highlights: “It is clear that during last years the lawmaker pointed to increase the fiscal revenues through broadening the offer and thanks to the excellent work of the Administration, that was able to regulate new channels, producing new revenues also recovering from the hidden activities. But now we can’t think to further increase the market, because this would compromise the work of the operators, and in this sense the only way was to intervene on the winnings. But is a fact that the gaming field must still retrieve something from the tax evasion and from the fight to the hidden activities”.

13 Nov 2011

Toward the solution

europaA Directive won’t regulate the online gaming market within the European Comminity, but it is certain that any “political” intervention towards this complex matter will aim to strenghten the cooperation between the Member States of the Union, with the target to fight the illegal market and protect the consumers and the most vulnerable subjects. However, it remains the need to maintain the right for every Country to individually regulate their own markets, respecting the principle of subsidiarity. This is the position of the Commission for the internal market reaffirmed in parliament and written by the German member of the European parliament Jurgen Creutzmann, who wrote the summary text of the Commission that follows the drafting of the Green Paper on the online gaming wanted by Michel Barnier, the Commissioner of the internal market.

This resolution of Cruetzmann is a “no -legislative” one, and it “leaves completely open the work on the Green Paper”, as the  proposer itself explains, “but it is indispensable to fix the position of the Commission about the matter, after having carefully examined all the issues with the aim to give a stimulus to the work of the European Parliament”.

 

The resolution, passed practically unanimously in the Commission, therefore rejects the idea of an European Directive to regulate the online gambling, as was predictable and, to  be honest, unavoitable. In an European context of total uncertainty and with the Euro on the borderline and that is risking to disappear, we could not surely think to a work table in the short term as concern the regulation of the online gaming and is not a case that also the simple formalization of the Green Paper has been delayed serveral times and also today is late in arriving.

But the fact that the Commission for the Internal Market has discussed the matter and approved a paper that is able to express a “global” opinion, represents an important step  in the discussion of the public gaming.

For the online field, which plays a more and more important role in the international economic survey – estimated around 10% of the entire European gaming market – and with clear repercussions also on the social area.

It seems that all the member states agree about the self-determination about gambling, with the consequent chance to maintain the governative monopolies and the prohibitions that they think are necessary (if justified). But the Commission specified that, because of the cross-border nature of the online gaming, there would be a clear value added to obtain through a coordinate community approach as regards specific fields, in particular the one of the fight against the illegal gaming and the addiction prevention.

So the members of the European Parliament in the Cruetzmann resolution call for greater cooperation between the regulatory bodies to give them a mandate – under the coordination of the Commission – who is enough to develop common standards to adopt a common action against the suppliers of unauthorized games.

In these terms, the internal market information system (imi) – the telematic network linking the public authorities in the European Union – could be a basis for a more effective cooperation, the resolution affirms. With the practic and direct chance to think about a “legally binding instrument” to force the banks, the credit card issuers and other participants in the payment system in the European Union, to block the transactions between their own customers and the gambling suppliers that belong to a “black-list”.

13 Nov 2011

And now we have a global market

italiaThe gaming multinational companies waited (and challenged) for a long time an opening  by Italy to become part of what is considered the most interesting market of Europe and, maybe, of the world. And now the opportunity has arrived, with the new licences for slots and vlts and, above all, with the new online gaming. For a market that now is really a global one. When Italy, a few years ago, proposed its own regulation model for the public gaming market, the monopolistic strategy realized by the Ministry of Economy was picked on by different parts into the European borders, with the charge of wild and potentionally inappropriate protection. But after several years of activity and a model sanctioned by   amazing economic performances and the legitimation of the licensor system from the European authorities, the gaming multinational companies, even the ones who early withdrew to enter in Italy, now are queuing at the gates of our nation, waiting for the right moment.

And it quickly arrived during the present year, with a double (re)opening of gaming on the double front of the amusement machines – made with the annuncement of competition for the slots’ and vlts’ licences – and of the online gaming – thanks to a second generation marked by the poker cash and the casino games.

 

 

Merkur Italia – “The Italian market of the amusement machines, with new slots and vlts, is without a doubt a very interesting one, and for this reason the Gauselmann group, in its general reorganization, decided to strongly focus on its presence in Italy, as it represents one of the most important foreign markets”. Roberto Ronchi, ceo of Merkur Italia, former head of Merkur Interactive, and today at the leadership of the company after the recent merger of Merkur win and Merkur gaming says. And it’s not a case that Merkur Italia itself partecipated (in partnership with five companies of the field holding devices) to the announcement for the assignation of the new licences. While they are waiting for the verdict of the State Monopoly for the assignation of the new licences, the general approach is of maximum caution. “We have big expectations about the place we can obtain in this field”, Ronchi adds “A company like this, where there is the stock of a company like Merkur, which depends, however, by a single investor, and other medium little companies, can’t have the same aim of the big joint-stock companies that already have a licence, but we already have clear ideas on what might be our role”.


Intralot Italia – Also Intralot is between the new possible protagonists of the Italian market of amusement machines. “On the one hand we have a network of 600 points which already connects about two thousand awp. We currently have about six hundred vlts and these numbers are already the ones for a concessionaire – Enea Ruzzettu, president of Intralot Italia, affirms – and for this reason we asked to become State concessionaires. The company that participated to the tender is Jackpot and through it we asked the Italian licence”.

What are the future targets? “The first one is surely to satisfy its stores with a biggest incisive and interesting offer and then to set out for foreign lands, installing machines even on different networks or users”.

What will be your partner for the technology? “At first we will refer to the agreement which originates from the commercial development with Cogetech, so at first its products will be our reference. And with the passing of time we will pass to an “independent” management”.

 

888.it – “I think that the Italians, in the world of online gaming, are second only to the Chinese. The Italian market offers the best opportunities of the gambling field in the world and, being a very rich market, also other companies want to enter in this field. The biggest problem we must face is the competition. The only solution is to be different from the others and try to offer to our customers exclusive games and a lot of unconventional marketing, as I learnt at the business school”. Pierfrancesco Geraci, managing director of 888.it, knows its mind about the potential that the Italian market of the online gaming offers: “The target of the casinò players represents a horizontal segment. They range over the twenty-years old boy with some money at disposal, to the fourty-years old business man, until the lady swathed in furs with a lot of time and money at disposal. We are concentring ourselves on the first two categories”.

What are the strenghts and the weaknesses of the Italian regulations about the online casinos?

“Right now we are enjoying the games legalization, so at present we are pleased to be regularly operational. These are young regulations and I think that they must be fitted, cleared and, not less important, enriched with the online slots”.


Unibet Italia – Unibet, present in Italy since 2008, using at the beginning a “skin” on the Microgame’s platform, in December 2010 launched its own platform, offering only poker tournaments. Since August of this year, it added sports book, poker cash and casino games, and the debut of the live casino is close to complete the offer of the products”. “The regulated Italian market – Jeremy Beach, general manager of Unibet Italia explains – today is one of the largest online gaming markets in Europe and it continues to considerably grow. Unibet  is sure that can continue to grow in Italy, constantly increasing the presence of its brand and offering a unique gaming experience to the Italian customers”.

In particular, as regards the casino games, “the offer, currently limited to the table games, has given a considerable boost to the online gaming market. Unibet has been one of the first operators to offer a specific welcome bonus. The use of the best casino software provider together with attractive stimulus for our customers who play our games, are the guarantee of a “superior” experience for their customers”.

 

Neomobile Gaming – “The Italian market is the first in which we operate as a mobile casino operator”. For this reason Neomobile Gaming, which finally obtained the ultimate licence to online operate in Italy, is preparing itself for a debut in perfect order: “We will introduce ourselves with a specific offer for the web and mobile casino games”, Francesco Postiglione, managing director of Neomobile Gaming, explains. “We will start with the Microgaming suite as regards the web and we will add within and no later the first quarter of the 2012 a unique set of customized cross platform mobile games for the main smartphones on the Italian market”.

Postiglione also hopes that the fight to the dot com “continue non only through the clouding of the illegal websites but above all through a licencing system that forces also the gaming service providers to obtain a licence in order to supply their products only to the legal Italian gaming operators, and not to the dot com, as unfortunately often happens”.

How much do you expect to the mobile casinos and to the live online games?

“The mobile casinos represent our reason of being, so we expect a lot to them, without underestimating the web. About the live online I will answer if a few months”.

 

Net Entertainment – “Italy is a key market for Net Entertainment, and we view the long term growth opportunities as very positive. Our focus on operational and portfolio excellence, will allow our customers to provide the best gaming experience to their players, and we are confident this will support our mutual agenda for sustainable business growth moving forward. We have a close cooperation with AAMS and other local stakeholders, which allow us to act swiftly as and when required. Yes, I believe that Net Entertainment is well positioned to take a leading role in providing the best in breed casino games moving forward, and to take an active role in the continuous development of the market” comments Björn Krantz, Acting CEO of Net Entertainment.

“The mobile gambling market represents a sector with strong expansion opportunities in the coming years and the high smartphone penetration in Italy in combination with openness for new access channels will provide for exciting additional revenue streams. Mobile gaming is a focus area for Net Entertainment, and I am sure we will see an extension of our portfolio in Italy sooner rather than later. We feel Italy is an ideal market for online, and for extension of mobile games” he continues.

Net Entertainment is a premium provider of casino games used by some of the world’s most successful and prominent online gaming operators. For the Italian market Net Entertainment has already signed license agreements with operators such as Gioco Digitale, Bwin.it, Microgame, Intralot, Unibet, Betclic, G.Matica and Interwetten.

14 Oct 2011

The new era of Atronic e Spielo

bugno2Some months ago we  have anticipated the merger between the two companies Spielo and Atronic. Now, this operation knows new developments, like explains Walter Bugno, Ceo of Spielo International, the new name of gaming solution division of the Lottomatica Group. “The most recent development is our unveiling of our new identity as Spielo International. This represents the completion of our integration process, with the new unfied goal of bringing compelling, high-performance content to our customers.

So we are now working together toward that common objective and serving all markets. We are now in the unique position of serving multiple gaming segments across many gaming channels as a single global entity, so we can offer more competitive pricing and deliver greater value to our customers. By combining our resources, innovation, and best practices, and by reducing inefficiencies, we will be providing great games more frequently, have a better understanding  of operators’ and players’ needs, increase innovation, and improve speed-to-market and delivery times. As well, because technology is an enabler of gaming success, rather than the driver, we want our technology to be relevant instead of leading-edge and costly. When our customers see the great games we have to offer, we want them to recognize that our technology can compete with anyone else’s, but that our games are clearly superior to everyone else’s. In other words, our technology will be relevant and up-to-date so that our true competitive differentiator will be the quality and performance of our games. The same account and service teams will continue to work with our customers; it was very important to us that those relationships were not affected”.

 

Spielo continues to be the undisputed leader after more than a year since the debut of the videolotteries on the Italian market. Wich is the secret of this success?

“The Italian Vlt program is proving to be a successful, dynamic, and well-regulated gaming program. Because of that success, many other jurisdictions planning to launch gaming programs might choose to model their programs after Italy’s. Today, Spielo International has secured agreements with multiple Italian Vlt concessionaires, and upon full program deployment, we expect to have at least 24% market share, if not more.  In July of this year, Spielo marked its one-year anniversary of becoming the first licensed Vlt supplier to deploy its end-to-end Vlt system in Italy. With more than 8,000 Vlts already installed, Spielo International’s installation base has generated approximately 60% of the total cash played. We expect to install a minimum of 5,400 additional Vlts during the remainder of 2011 and into 2012. However, we anticipate that our installations may exceed that, because the Italian government has announced that a new tendering process will take place later this year. This will expand the market, and may give us a chance to supply many more machines beyond the total 13,400 now being deployed. Being first to market was a huge advantage, as it provided us with a head start on the competition in machine rollout. We also have some of the top-tier customers in Italy, including Lottomatica Videolot Rete. Lottomatica, as well as our additional concessionaires, created excellent execution plans to quickly roll out machines. This has given us the opportunity to keep and grow our first-to-market advantage.

Player demand for our products in Italy has also helped us to roll out much faster than the competition. We have some of the most compelling products on the market, including our jackpot solution, which has a lot of player appeal and, as a result, generates a lot of wagers. The solution is a scalable, flexible multi-level linked progressive jackpot that’s part of our INTELLIGENTM Multi-Player module. The progressive jackpot feature is only offered on Spielo’s Vlts. Most players cite the jackpot as the reason why they play Spielo machines, rather than other manufacturers’ offerings. We believe that Italian Vlt players like high stakes and are attracted by the changing progressive jackpot”.

Do you think that the slots seriously suffered from the presence of the Vlts when all the terminals at disposal of the concessionaires will be installed?

“The Atronic product brand will continue in the Italian Awp market. We’ve only just entered this market but have already seen great deal of success, thanks to the excellent performance of our games. As you know, the current overall Awp game selection is enourmous – it’s an extremely competitive market. We’ve introduced a multi-game line-up this year and it has been very well-received. The percieved ‘cannibalization’ of Awp from Vlt in Italian is simply a myth. Each program’s gaming environments are different, and the stakes and payouts for each are much different. For that reason, they each appeal to different types of players, and we believe that both can be mutually sustained and enhanced.”

 

14 Oct 2011

Online, it’s up to another one

onlineragazzaThe web gaming is an important market, with great potential and space for new operators. Poker cash and casino games are ready to change the field, but we are waiting for the arrival of the virtual slots to complete the offer. “In Italy there are already 150 active operators in the online gaming with the Aams licence and another 30 operators will arrive very soon, but we think that there is enought space for everybody. We aim to the biggest opening of the industry but also to the biggest clearness”. This is the complete picture about the Italian online gaming given by Aams through Francesco Rodano, the person in charge for the online. A very active field, despite of the uncertainties come after the appeal made from Stanleybet against the announcement for the new licences. But the growth of the market “must be linked to the steady recovery of the illegal market”, Rodano specifies.

The clearness starts from Aams that changed its working method: “Since some months we  publish the data of all the online operators – the Aams manager explains – because it is important to keep the dialogue open in a growing market, so the new operators can have positive prospects for the future, safeguarding their investments”. Regarding the “possible returns” of the field, Rodano reminds the ratio of the regulation: “We can’t think that the State wants to regulate the online gaming with the sole revenue aim because it is clear that in Italy the online gaming only represents 2% of the tax revenues of the public gaming and it would be neamingless to oppress the companies with the sole revenue aim”.

 

The Italian market of the online gaming is surely a strategic field for the foreign companies and the Eig in Milan cleared this interest up, despite of there are still many things to develop with the arrival of the online slots.  Fabio Angeli Bufalini of Betsson points out: “it is certainly a market that we can’t underestimate, because it is always a more attractive one and we are sure that poker cash and casino games will change the online, but we are also waiting for the arrival of the slot machines for a full offer”.

Pier Francesco Geraci, ceo of 888.it, is sure that it is necessary to have the proper strategy to operate in this field: “We expect to do much good from the online in the shortest possible time. This is a very complex market, with many different products. There are those who focus on one product, those who focus on many products, we have a strategy which we hope will lead us to become leader in the field of the online casinos”. What is the public of the online casinos? “The target of casino players is one of the least clear of the world. It varies from the 18 years old boy with some money in his poket, to the 40 years old businessman with a high income, to the 70 years old swathed in furs Countess who goes to the casino to spent an evening. We expect a lot from the arrival of the slots, also if we are finding many obstacles to enter in this game”.

Paolo Di Feo, Southern region director di bwin.party digital, thinks that “poker cash e casinò games complete the games portfolio managing to attract new parts of players also if it represents in some way a niche, compared to other products”.

Gianluca Ballocci, interactive vice president of Lottomatica, tells some data: “39% of market share with the vegas Club casino games and 13,5% for poker. We are proud of these data. But it is clear that the trend of the online market could even be better if we are able to complete the games portfolio offered to the customers. To complete the offer – he adds – is not only aimed to the revenues, but it would permit to expand the market introducing other patterns and reaching new targets”.

Slots and new customers, let’s start the autumn challenge – “We are having the expected results as concerns the raising, but during next months we must change. The “summer” players reached good also if now the challenge is to recover the active players before the summer and make acquisition”. This is the result of IziPlay about the first trial stage of the casino games offered on IziCasino: “Roulette is the main game, then we have videopoker, blacjack and all the kinds of table games”. After the Eig, the new games will be presented at Enada Rome: “It will be important to understand the new market trends, to see what the companies are making to improve themselves and to test the innovative products”.

And about the wait for the debut of the slots: “We believe that they are important to complete the casino offer and to implement the moving of Italian players that still play abroad. Our provider has a good amount of already certified slot, so we are waitings for implement our revenue share”.

17 Sep 2011

Good first take…for those who could

online_sitoA lot of operators of casino games are in stand-by, but those who already started, like 888.it, take the first stock: “A success beyon our expectations, thanks above all to the online live”. The new operators who want to obtain a “dot it” licence to offer, among other things, online casino games, must wait the result of the petition made from Stranleybet to the European announcement of competition for the granting of two hundred new licences. But those who already had the licence, according to the previous “Bersani announcement”, since the second half of July could make their début with the games of chance with fixed amount.

888 is between them and it, whit 14 years of experience behind and a presence in about one hundred countries of the world, has all the credentials to confirm its leadership also in Italy: “Our arrival in the Italian market – Pier Francesco Geraci, ceo of 888.it affirms – has been a success beyond our expectations. Only in the month of July we delivered in our site more than one million euro of winnings, a very good result, considering in fact that the online casino games started since only two weeks. We have been the first ones to offer the live casino as a novelty. The innovation of the “croupier live” has been the key-novelty that affirmed our leadership as experts in the online casino games”.

 

Geraci outlines the characteristics and the potential of Italy in the gaming matter: “The fact is that the Italian market, unlike the international one, is regulated with some barriers at the entry and some operational constraints that need very particular strategies, and they often make ideas, posssibilities and experiences coming from the rest of the world fruitless, where one doesn’t pay taxes, there isn’t Aams and there is a “creative” finance. In Italy, the newcomers from abroad, including us, will adopt totally the rules of the market, they will adapt themselves exploiting all the available occasions. It doesn’t means that the chances to reach the profit will be lower, but that it will be a strong need of localization and innovation”.

 

It’s only cash game! – Also if at the moment of going to press we don’t have detailed data both of the raising of the first solar month with the cash game and of the division of this manner from the one of the tournament, the analysis of the poker rooms leaves out upsetting data, of course in a positive sense, about the launch of this new skill game. About a 90% of the players immediately has been sitting to the cash tables crowding all the gaming levels, from the micro limits to the high stakes that, however, allowed only buy of 5/10 euro, because of the maximum limit of 1000 euro per table.

The players have immediately appreciated the opportunity to seat down and get up from the table when they prefer and at what level they prefer without have been bound to the hours of the tournaments that always take up a lot of hours in front of the pc.

This is obviously a momentary phase. The tournaments and the sit&go will once again be populated also if the cash will settle again on high-volume raising. The poker itself says it, that proliferates since a lot of years on the “dot com” rooms and that always followed the same trend of development.