Category: News

13 Nov 2012

Snai: main consolidated economic and financial data

snai standThe Board of Directors of Snai S.p.A. met in Milan under Giorgio Sandi’s chairmanship and approved the consolidated interim report for the Group as of 30 September 2012, setting forth third quarter revenues of Euro 105.7 million and third quarter Ebitda of Euro 4 million and, for the first nine months of the year, revenues of Euro 369.5 million and Ebitda of Euro 38.3 million.

As compared with the first nine months of 2011, 2012 has been marked primarily by a higher payout for sports bets, a factor which has affected the entire Italian market, which has had an adverse effect on both revenues and EBITDA for the period. With respect to forecasts, moreover, the continuation of the block on the Barcrest VLT platform has given rise to reduced growth in this product segment.

Mostly for these elements, the revenues for the first nine months of 2012 amount to Euro 369.5 million, down 8.7% with respect to the same period in 2011 (Euro 404.9 million). The payout for sports bets which rose from 79,7% in the first nine months of 2011to 84% in the same period of 2012, has led to a reduction in revenues of approximately Euro 27 million. This was coupled with a 6.7% decrease in wagers. Wagers have been showing a downward trend also for horse race betting due to the continuation of the crisis affecting such segment.

However, Snai’s market share in the VLT segment has risen to 4%of the relevant market. Ebitda amounts to Euro 38.3 million down from Euro 56.1 million reported in the same period in 2011, essentially on account of the above-mentioned reduction of revenues by Euro 27 million, caused by the unfavorable variation in the payout, which was particularly concentrated in the month of September. The growing contribution of VLTs and remote gaming continues, even if the unavailability of the Barcrest platform limits the number of machines wagering with respect to the full potential of SNAI’s network.

For the same reasons, Ebit is negative in the amount of Euro – 8.4million, as compared with the positive amount of Euro 7.4 million generated at the end of the first nine months of 2011.

The results of operations for the first nine months of 2012 therefore show a loss of Euro 24.7 million, as compared with the loss of Euro 17.2 million registered in the same period last year.

The net financial position as of 30 September 2012 amounts to Euro 362 million, up 2.1% from the amount of Euro 354.4 million registered at the end of 2011. A delay in collections from ASSI/Unire and from retailers has contributed toward this variation.

12 Nov 2012

Gaming collection from January to August: +8.2 billion euros, boom of winnings at 9 billions

grafico torta personeA collection of more than 8.2 billion euros in 2012 compared to 2011, but the significant datum is that against an increase of 9 billion euros in winnings, the expense of players is even decreased of 600 million euros. The first 8 months of collection of AAMS public games affirm that the collection significantly increase (+16.6%), the winnings significantly grow (+23.8%) and we point out a decrease of 4.7% of the expense. Is sure that players are smiling because they see going back 45 billion euros on the 56 played but, of course, the operators and the revenue see pass more money but even less money remains.
In particular the entertainment machines remain the princes of collection with 31.2 billion euros for the entertainment machines with VLTs that add 13 billions, almost the double of 2011. Bettings and Lotteries remain stable, Bingo falls, Lotto falls a lot and Superenalotto significantly falls (it decreases from 1.65 billions to 1.25).
Super boom for cash game and online casinos from 1.5 billions to 8.4 billions with a consequent decrease of skill games and poker tournaments from a collection of 1.8 billions to 859 millions.
There is a curions comparison between the expenditure of skill games and the one of cash game. 103 millions for the Skill and, compared with nearly 10 times of collection, cash is making ‘spend’ just 234 million euros, giving 8.1 billion euros in winnings.

12 Nov 2012

In July and August the devices have always been leader of collection, a lot of winnings with poker cash and casino games

ricevitoriaIn July 2012 in Italy 1.161 billion euros have been spent for public gaming, a figure obtained subtracting winnings to total collection, which in the month in question has been of 6 billion and 213 million euros. The devices, AAMS announces, collected 3 billions and 513 million euros from the devices (vlts contributed for 1.337 billion euros to the 3.513 billion euros mentioned). At the second place, as regards the collection, there are card games organized in a different way from the tournament and games of chance with fixed share, with a collection of 918 million euros, followed by lotteries with 696 millions and lotto with 491 millions.
The collection, compared to July, was slightly lower than in August when, as announced by AAMS, it has been of 6.003 billion euros. On the contrary the expense of players grows, with a balance of 1.162 billion euros. Even in August the devices are leader of collection, with 3.279 billion euros (with 1.223 billions went back into the pockets of players as winnings), with vlt that collect 1.223 billion euros for winnings of 1.082 billion euros and an expense of players of 141 million euros. Card games organized in a different way from the tournament and games of chance with fixed share follows, with a collection of 913 million euros, winnings of 88 millions and 25 million euros of expense. Lotteries follow with a collection of 737 million euros, 520 millions of winnings and 41, and once again lotto is at the third place with a collection of 465 million euros, winnings of 291 million euros and an expense of players of 174 million euros. Even in August, the base-horse games are confirmed as the tail ender: the collection has been of 72 million euros, 51 of them given back in winnings.

12 Nov 2012

Atrax Expo Brings: the World’s Attraction to İstanbul

atraxThe entertainment sector in Turkey has been transforming rapidly in recent years. Whilst Lunaparks are slowly fading, Theme Parks’ era begins.  Consequently this very state led sector’s professionals to look for new ideas for Theme Park projects. Atrax Expo, tu fulfil this requirement is getting ready to bring each and every kind of entertainment to Istanbul. The fair that is being organized by Tureks International Fair Co. will gather leading companies of the sector. 200 firms from across 28 countries will be presenting their latest products to their estimable  guests and future clients.
Atrax Entertainment, Activity and Park Expo that will be held  for the first time in Turkey at Yeşilköy İstanbul Expo Center between December 6-9 2012, aims to reach a remarkable number of visitors with it’s strategical location in İstanbul. The organization expects a resounding success as a showroom of a wide range of attraction/entertainment products.

An uprising market in entertainment sector – As being the only sectoral entertainment fair of Turkey as well as the region, Atrax will host numerous company represantators and investors from Balkans, Africa, Middle East, Russia, Arab Emirates and Turkic Republics as visitors. Turkey, the candidate to become one of the  greatest economies of the world, being in a breakthrough development, provides a fruitful base for global inverstors  that quest for new business opportunities  via  reputable international organizations such as Atrax. For the first year of the fair, the main theme  has ben set as “theme parks”. And hopefully Atrax will become a reference point for future theme park projects that are being built in various cities of Turkey.

09 Nov 2012

Lottomatica Group announces 2012 third-quarter results: good market in Italy and boom of Spielo International

lottomaticaLottomatica Group S.p.A.’s Board of Directors, chaired by Mr. Lorenzo Pellicioli, examined both the third-quarter and nine-month consolidated results, and approved the financial statements for the first nine months of 2012 which ended September 30, 2012. “We are encouraged by the continued growth and positive developments in our International business,” said Marco Sala, CEO of Lottomatica Group.  “Despite a difficult local economy, the core of our business in Italy is performing to our expectations. Private manager and operator opportunities are accelerating. Our successful private manager operation in Illinois and our recent win in Indiana position us well for the future.”
“Contributions from our GTECH Lottery and SPIELO International segments combined with a stabilizing Italian market produced another positive quarter. Overall, the Group is on track to achieve its 2012 financial targets. Due to our progress toward de-leveraging, our Net Financial Position is within the end-of-year guidance range. Cash flow generation remains very healthy,” said Alberto Fornaro, CFO of Lottomatica Group. “When measured at the 1.35 USD/EUR guidance rate, we expect 2012 EBITDA to be in the upper end of the €1,000 – €1,020 million range, or slightly above when measured at current exchange rates.”

THIRD-QUARTER CONSOLIDATED RESULTS – for the third quarter ended september 30, 2012, revenues totaled €740.2 million, compared to €740.9 million in the third quarter of 2011.  Strong revenue growth in the GTECH Lottery and SPIELO International segments was offset by lower revenues in the Italian Operations segment resulting from a lower incidence of Lotto late number wagers, unusually high sports betting payouts, and the anticipated increase in video lottery terminal (VLT) taxation.

EBITDA increased 3.8% in the third quarter of 2012 to €246.0 million versus €237.0 million in the same period last year.  At constant currency, EBITDA was €240.1 million.

Operating Income was €134.5 million in the third quarter, compared to €129.4 million in the third quarter of last year, up 3.9%.

Interest expense was down 9.3% to €38.2 million in the third quarter of 2012 versus the same period last year, primarily due to lower average debt balances.

Net income attributable to the parent was €48.9 million in the third quarter of 2012 versus €58.5 million in the third quarter last year, when a €29.7 million non-cash foreign exchange gain was recorded.

Diluted Earnings-Per-Share (EPS) was €0.28, compared to €0.34 in the same period last year. When adjusted for purchase-price accounting and foreign exchange impact, net of tax, pro forma EPS was €0.35, up from €0.29 in the 2011 third quarter.

At September 30, 2012, Consolidated Shareholders’ Equity totaled €2.64 billion. Lottomatica Group had a Net Financial Position (NFP) of €2.62 billion, compared to €2.74 billion as of December 31, 2011.

ITALIAN OPERATIONS – Revenues from Italian operations were €406.5 million, compared to €458.5 million in the third quarter of 2011. Despite a challenging market environment in Italy, the overall business performance was good.  A number of events impacted top line performance including lower late number Lotto wagers, higher sports betting payouts, and higher taxation on VLTs.

While underlying Lotto wagers, including 10eLotto, were stable, overall Lotto wagers for the quarter were €1.47 billion compared to €1.75 billion last year. Lotto late number wagers in the third quarter of 2012 were €121.9 million, compared to €401.1 million in the third quarter of 2011. In the third quarter of 2011, a higher incidence of late numbers occurred which did not recur in the third quarter of 2012.

Instant-ticket wagers were in line with expectations at approximately €2.24 billion in the quarter, compared to €2.39 billion in the same period last year. Approximately 480 million Scratch & Win tickets were sold in the quarter, with an average price point of €4.65.  Lottomatica continues to optimize its retail network as well as diversify its instant-ticket games portfolio. The Company introduced a new €10 and €5 ticket in September and October, respectively.  Early performance of both games is encouraging.

Revenues from Sports Betting in Italy were €15.0 million due to unusually high sports betting payouts, partially offset by an 11.7% increase in wagers. The approximate 90% payout in the third quarter was the result of several unfavorable soccer match outcomes in September.

Revenues from Machine Gaming were €156.2 million versus €167.1 million last year.  Revenues were impacted by the 4% gaming tax on VLTs, up from 2% last year, resulting in a €35 million tax impact in the 2012 third quarter. Machine gaming wagers grew 3.0% in the third quarter to €2.87 billion from €2.79 billion in the same period last year.  At September 30, 2012, approximately 64,100 AWP machines and 10,600 VLTs were installed.

Interactive wagers totaled €485.4 million, compared to €533.0 million in the third quarter of 2011 when there was an initial launch of new games including Poker Cash and Casino games.

GTECH LOTTERY – GTECH Lottery revenue for the third quarter of 2012 was up 15.4% to €261.1 million compared to €226.3 million last year.  On a constant currency basis, revenues grew by 5.6%. GTECH Lottery U.S. same store service revenue grew 7.4% in the third quarter of 2012 versus the same period last year.  GTECH benefited from continued growth of instant-ticket sales which increased 11% year-over-year, driven by instant-ticket sales in California, Illinois, and Texas.  International Lottery same store service revenue grew 7.7% compared to the third quarter of last year due to strong performance in Colombia and the U.K., as well as the positive sales impact from GTECH’s customer in the Czech Republic.

During the quarter, GTECH announced and/or signed contract extensions with customers in South Dakota and Arizona, as well as signed new contracts with lotteries in New Zealand, Argentina, and Lithuania.

Shortly following the close of the third quarter, GTECH signed a 15-year Integrated Services agreement with the Hoosier Lottery in Indiana.

SPIELO INTERNATIONAL – Third-quarter revenues for SPIELO International were up 25.6% to €82.7 million when compared to the same period last year, primarily due to higher product sales in Canada and Sweden, as well as favorable foreign exchange.

During the quarter, SPIELO International increased its market share in Canada by finalizing VLT and/or central system replacement agreements with Western Canada Lottery Corporation (Saskatchewan), Manitoba Lotteries, and Atlantic Lottery Corporation. To date, SPIELO International has secured all five central system awards and all four VLT awards in Canada.  A fifth VLT award is in its final approval stage.

06 Nov 2012

Spielo International: qpon cashNew, new installations in Gujan Mestras, France, and Royal Caribbean International Ship

qponcash spieloqpon cash™, Spielo International’s ticketing solution that offers a flexible tool for reporting, ticket issue, and redemption, has recently been installed in Casino Gujan Mestras, part of the Socodem Group, located in the south west of France close to Bordeaux. This new SPIELO International customer has also implemented the GALAXIS™ Star SLOTS™ accounting system. The systems went live at the end of August on 110 Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs). qpon cash is a streamlined cashless payment system that offers convenience to both players and operators. Combined with Star MARKETING™, it becomes a cost-effective and efficient solution for promotional campaigns. With qpon cash, operators can easily perform filtering, scheduling, and monitoring to enhance casino marketing programs.
Star SLOTS is an advanced slot management system, providing efficient slot accounting and slot floor maintenance and delivering real-time access to high-quality slot floor data. It complies with the main regulations worldwide, covering the largest collection of slot business procedures in the industry.
“SPIELO International is delighted to be working with SOCODEM Group for the first time,” said Didier Tomas, Regional Sales Manager for France and other French-speaking territories. “The Casino Systems project team is looking forward to cementing a long term partnership by providing systems solutions that enhance the player experience, promote customer loyalty, increase play, and ultimately enhance the casino’s business.”
Not only popular in land-based casinos, this summer Royal Caribbean International® (RCI)’s Mariner of the Seas® cruise ship casino also implemented the qpon cash cashless ticketing solution on 300 EGMs. RCI is one of the largest cruise ship companies in the world, and it has been a SPIELO International Casino Systems customer since 1999. The Mariner of the Seas on-board casino is already equipped with GALAXIS Star SLOTS accounting systems and Star MARKETING player management systems. RCI currently has 14 ships equipped with the GALAXIS range of casino systems solutions.
“RCI is so pleased with qpon cash that they are planning to deploy our ticketing solution on board seven more ships in their fleet, bringing the total to eight ships with qpon cash ticketing by 2013,” said Virginie Bellaton, Regional Sales Manager for cruise lines and other European territories.
qpon cash offers a multitude of player benefits, such as ease of use, cleanliness, and easy movement from one slot machine to the next.  For operators, qpon cash also supports promotional ticketing, and can be used as a helpful marketing tool, while Star SLOTS provides flexible coverage of different international slot accounting operations processes.

05 Nov 2012

Lottomatica Group announced agreement New Zealand Lottery trough june 2020

nzlc-logoLottomatica Group S.p.A. announced that its subsidiary GTECH Global Services Corporation Limited has signed an agreement to provide new lottery technology and ongoing services for the New Zealand Lotteries Commission (NZ Lotteries). This agreement extends the relationship to June 30, 2020 and calls for two, two-year extension options, exercisable at the sole discretion of NZ Lotteries. GTECH expects to receive approximately €14 million in revenues over the life of the base agreement.  The NZ Lotteries has been a GTECH customer since 1987.

“Throughout our 25-year partnership, GTECH and NZ Lotteries have shared a commitment to delivering the highest quality in every aspect of lottery products and system performance,” said GTECH President and CEO Jaymin B. Patel. “Over that time, we have also worked closely with NZ Lotteries to understand their business processes and vision for the future. Together, we have developed a set of solutions and growth strategy that are essential to helping them meet their requirements today, and in the years ahead.”

Under the terms of the agreement, GTECH will provide enhancements to the existing Enterprise Series (ES) central system solution, benefiting both retailers and players alike.  The Company will also replace NZ Lotteries’ online terminals with 1,800 Altura® GT1200 terminals, enabling exciting new games and multimedia possibilities.
Additionally, GTECH’s Lottery Inside in-lane solution will provide retailers the ability to process lottery transactions through non-lottery dedicated point-of-sale devices, improving player convenience and offering ease of execution for retailers.

In addition to lottery technology, GTECH provides NZ Lotteries with field services and terminal maintenance.  Its ES Interactive solution, which allows the sale of online lottery games to players via the Internet, went live in New Zealand in 2008.

05 Nov 2012

The Swedish Tax Agency announces preliminary notice of tax reassessment

NETENT LOGOThe Swedish Tax Agency has announced that they are considering reassessing Net Entertainment NE AB’s taxable income and to impose additional taxes of SEK 67,492,226 and tax surcharges of SEK 20,595,576, a total of SEK 88,087,802. Net Entertainment finds the Swedish Tax Agency’s opinion unfounded and will appeal a potential decision if such is made in-line with the Swedish Tax Agency’s preliminary notice.

After a tax audit in Net Entertainment NE AB concerning fiscal years 2007-2010, the Swedish Tax Agency has announced a preliminary opinion, a so called audit memorandum. The Swedish Tax Agency is considering imposing Net Entertainment additional tax of SEK 67,492,226 and that tax surcharge shall be applied amounting to SEK 20,595,576.

The Swedish Tax Agency does not give certain agreements between companies within the Net Entertainment Group the same legal interpretation and economic substance as Net Entertainment. Net Entertainment does not share the Swedish Tax Agency’s opinion and insists that the Company complies with applicable laws for taxation of the Company’s business.

A decision from the Swedish Tax Agency is estimated to be announced before the end of 2012. In the case where the Swedish Tax Agency maintain their view and decides in accordance with the preliminary notice, Net Entertainment will appeal the decision.

02 Nov 2012

A business ‘politically correct’: the three steps of gaming industry

3passiGambling is an agelong pastime, it existed in the civilization of ancient Egypt as in Chinese antiquity, so the grandeur and the maturity of the industry is not the result of a cultural element, but of an industrial process and an acceptable policy, and consequently it became a mass practice. Great Britain is the country in the van as regards the liberalization. The rest of Europe maintained a close state control on gambling practically until the end of the twentieth century (in many states is still this way) and the biggest part of the European states would continue to do that if it were not for three basic reasons: the evolution of Internet, the free market of the EU and the desperate need of states for having an additional source of revenue collection as a result of the financial crisis started in 2007 and that is still in progress.

In Great Britain, in the sixties, the gambling legalization has been justified by an utilitarian approach. The utilitarian philosophy, which is fundamental in the Anglo-Saxon world, believes that every action must have the target of the achievement of happiness of the greater number of people or the greatest possible reduction of damage that may occur to most of them.

In the case of gambling legalization it was to reduce the damage, and not the creation of happiness, that in this case would have meant to accept the philosophy of hedonism, which considers the achievement of pleasure the last aim of man.

So, in the modern age, the gaming industry started its industrial journey under a rather defensive and just tolerated omen. The fact that the windows of betting shops in the UK can not be transparent let us understand the level of acceptability of this phenomenon.

But the industry itself has not been able to create a comvincing history of its own existence. In Great Britain the gambling legalization, under an utilitarian philosophical boost clashes with the protestant work ethics, brilliantly described by the philosopher Popper. Gambling in the Catholic Europe clashes with Catholic ethics that considers gaming a hedonistic practice, so a sin.

Obviously the behavior of gaming industry is not unvariyng in all European countries. In Great Britain the industry recognizes the problem of how the gaming phenomenon is perceived. In fact the Gambling Commission was created in 2005, taking the place of the Gaming Board of Great Britain created in the sixties. The Gambling Commission is financed by the gaming industry but is independent from it and is controlled by the Ministry of Culture, Media and Sport. The Gambling Commission, besides regulating the industry, prepares every four years the ‘Prevalence Study’, a document that analyzes the prevalence of gaming in the British population. It is particularly careful to protect the weak persons and it is taken very seriously by Parliament.

Besides the aspect of regulation, there is also the problem of perception. The lottery industry has a remarkable success in this field as it is generally perceived in Great Britain, as they say in English, ‘a force for good’, like a charitable organization. The money given to charitable and worthy organizations is at the center of this success. In fact, all the structures created this year for the London Olympic games were created using the money of the National Lottery.

But this is not enough. The industry is still perceived by a large sector of the population and British politics community as a predator industry. This perception has increased in recent years, especially after the arrival of Internet gambling.

As mentioned above, the liberalization of gambling field in the European community in recent years happened after the progressive spreading of internet, of the free exchange of goods and products in the European Union and of the need for resources from various governments as a result of the economic crisis still in progress.

The unregulated web gaming forced many governments trying to control the phenomenon through the regularization. This allowed gambling to become accessible without leaving your home. In addition many gaming companies have had the nerve to challenge the various governments and state monopolies to open markets to trade companies.

Many governments, including the German one, became the liberalization of the field only because they were forced by the European Commission. But the most explosive factor as regards the liberalization was the desperate need for funds of the various European governments (recently also of the American States) caused by the economic crisis of the past five years.

This fact allowed the proliferation of both the terrestrial and the internet gaming activities.

But this explosion of gambling activities has been accompanied by a general view that linked the gambling industry to a predator industry.

This last point is particularly relevant in Italy where we have been a particularly aggressive and fast liberalization of the field, but without creating the right protection for the weak subjects, such as the persons under age.

Let’s look at the English example. In the United Kingdom the protection of weak subjects as regards gambling is a duty of the Gambling Commission, so the approach is purely a regulatory and punitive one, but it is a success. The persons under age involved in gaming activities in the United Kingdom is almost nonexistent but in Italy is not the same. Many researches certifies that a large part of Italian persons under age is involved ing aming activities, but we know that there are limits on this approach. The financial field, regulated like the gambling industry, shown how a purely regulatory approach is not enough. In Italy Aams, the body devoted to control the field, is mainly concerned to protect the tax revenues, so the priority of AAMS is to maximize the tax revenues.

In fact, the other political bodies in Italy, such as regions and municipalities, suffers the proliferation of gaming rooms, and see every innovation, such as videolotteries (VLTs), as a negative fact. Because they are close to the damages caused by the gaming pathologies, without enjoying the taxes coming from gambling, that in Italy now exceeds 10 billion euro per year.

How to go on? First of all the gaming industry should create an organization to analyze the pathologies caused by gaming and take actions through the self-regulations before they come from legislative ways after a burning ‘vox populi’.

The second thing is that the industry must be able to tell to the Italians the jobs that has been created (over 100 thousand) and the technological innovations of Italian gambling that make Italy a country in the van, not only in Europe but also in the world.

At the same time the industry must do more to remove the organized crime that caused a lot of damages, and continues to do it, to the image of the field.

30 Oct 2012

Law changes help Italy’s e-gaming sector

globalbettinggamingconsultantsIs Italy’s e-gaming rising from ‘zero to hero’ and becoming one of the success stories of regulation? Has Aams been able to quash its reputation for a draconian approach to regulation through enlightenment? Prior to the regulatory changes the Italian market was seen as a disproportionately ‘protectionist system’ within the EU.

Stefano Sbordoni, IT Law Professor and Lawyer at Studio Sbordoni, commented on the new regulatory era in Italy “We are all aware that legal changes in Italy have been beneficial to the whole European space, especially relating to online regulations. As far as terrestrial gaming is concerned, I foresee a silent revolution that in the medium period will lead to a dramatic change in the business model, in Italy and abroad. Right now, there is an overdue but at the same time excessive attention of Regulators and States only to the negative aspects of gaming, and this is certainly counterproductive for both them and the operators.”

Sbordoni added “I feel that the regulations are well done, and will bring revenue to the industry. The online gaming industry needs continuous updates and refreshments, independent of the economic result.”

The regulation is now extending the product portfolio it covers and this is beneficial for many, although there may be some questions about the benefits to local operations. Gionata La Torre, CEO of Evolution Italy, commented: “With the deregulation of Bingo and the introduction of slots on line, Italy will have a complete igaming portfolio. This will help Aams and licensed operators fight against the dotcoms because the player can experience the whole gaming suite on IT portals.” Gionata added “it has been clear since the beginning that online slots would have followed the launch of casino games (both RNG and live). [Regarding] local operators versus European firms, at least in casino games Italian companies are winning. Among the top 5 companies, 4 are Italians with Lottomatica (that we proudly serve) emerging as clear leader.”

Amongst those interested in the market is also said to be 32Red Plc, the Gibraltar based online gambling operator. Their statement dated 5 September 2012 confirmed that their “revenues for July and August 2012 are up 22% on the corresponding period in 2011 despite the Olympics taking place at that time.” Concerning the Italian market 32Red declared that “The Board continues its strategy of investing in UK marketing and will commence marketing activity in Italy during the second half of the year.” Ed Ware, CEO at 32Red Plc, commented: “As previously stated, we intend to enter the Italian online casino market in early Q4 [2012] and we are looking forward to commencing marketing and operational activities. While we continue to focus on our core market of the UK, we look forward to utilising our Italian licence to expand the profile of the brand and to grow the business in another regulated market.”

Italy seems to have revived the live casino market and Evolution Gaming is undoubtedly enjoying this moment as it has been chosen to supply their offerings to a number of well known brands. Notably, Betsson has chosen Evolution Gaming for its live operations. In Evolution Gaming’s press release dated 5 July 2012, “Commenting on StarCasino’s Italian Live Casino strategy Fabio Bufalini, General Manager, Italy of Betsson Group, said: “Betsson Group has already achieved international success with Evolution Live Casino. In Italy we were also aware of Evolution’s localised solutions and their dedicated tables, which we see as the way forward in this market. Evolution was therefore the natural choice as StarCasino’s Live Casino partner for Italy.”

Also Unibet is said to have chosen Evolution Gaming. According to Unibet is launching their live casino operation with Evolution Gaming in Italy and Daniel Eskola, head of gaming at Unibet commented: “We already work closely with Evolution on, streaming Live Casino games to customers’ PCs globally – and we’ve been extremely pleased with the results. Now, with Evolution Live Casino becoming the first Live Casino solution to be fully certified by Aams, we are very excited about offering an enhanced local service for our Italian customers through” Jens von Bahr, CEO at Evolution Gaming, added: “Re-regulation of individual markets across Europe presents both challenges and huge opportunity. Italy is a complex market in terms of regulatory requirements, so we are naturally delighted to have helped Unibet go live so quickly with such a complete Live Casino service for Italian players.”

The Italian market has posed significant tests for the industry. Some of the difficulties arise from the technical particularities of the legislation. Development of new games represents a burden of extra compliance. Similarly, even the paramount importance of customer acquisition needs extra care. Gionata La Torre explained that “probably the main challenge has been the evangelization on a new type of gaming offer. Though we are trading since 2006, live games were not a popular subject in Italy. Regarding our competitive advantage, being first mover helps a lot in a tight regulated market.” Gionata further commented “probably the main challenge is the certification for every new game, and certification of the integration for every new customer. We’ve now a very structured process and certifying a new Customer is pretty fast and smooth. Italy is at the forefront of the .country model and all the other main European markets are looking to it, as it is US. If you make it in Italy, you can make it everywhere.”

Addressing the issue of proportionality and discriminatory measures in terms of European Court of Justice’s (‘ECJ’) rulings, and particularly the views from the European Commission (‘EC’) that found the former Italian rules disproportionate, Giulio Coraggio, Senior Associate at DLA Piper believes that “this is a tricky issue. The arguments raised by the European Commission might have been correct under the old Italian rules that for instance required the license holder to be based and have its technical infrastructures in Italy. However, the new Italian gambling rules allow license holders to be based in any EEA country and have its technical infrastructure located therein adopting an approach that is more in line with EU principles. Additionally, Aams has been recently trying more and more to balance gambling operators’ needs with the objective to protect citizens through player protection measures and stringent checks on operators.”

The regime is now considered more proportionate which is clear from the industry response. The market requirements in this specific sector seem to have been listened to. Stefano Sbordoni commented “Actually, the infringement proceedings of 2006 were mostly due to a mistake in the issuing of that regulations, that was issued again a few months later without incurring any infringement proceedings. The essence of the provision of banning illegal websites in fact has not caused problems to the Italian regulator and to the State. In my view the rules are not disproportionate: its effectiveness though is more on the communication side than on the legal. Technology nowadays allows the use of devices that can help to bypass this obstacle, but the ratio of the legal rule is solid.”

The discussions about the Italian rules, however, go further. The breach of EU laws is another interesting topic. It was only in July when Stanleybet lodged a complaint with the European Commission that Italy was applying ‘unlawful gambling regulation’ despite three ECJ rulings declaring the Italian gambling regime in breach of EU Treaty [Stanleybet press release 25 July 2012].