Category: News

01 Mar 2012

Net Entertainment making waves in Italian market

Net-EntertainmentWhen the regulated Italian market opened up in July last year, Net Entertainment was one of the first online casino providers to enter the market.  Since then, Net Entertainment has continued to gain market share by delivering first-class products in combination with strong customer closeness. Like the majority of operators and gaming suppliers active in the regulated Italian market, Net Entertainment believes that the introduction of video slots will be of great benefit for all involved stakeholders. Introduction of slots will support the Italian online agenda for sustainable growth moving forward, and by its introduction players will be able to enjoy a more diverse gaming experience.  Björn Krantz, Acting President and Ceo of Net Entertainment comments “It is our ambition to launch slots as soon as the Italian authority allows it and we have an organizational readiness for such a launch”.

To support its strategy for growth and local market penetration important investments have been made by Net Entertainment, which also will continue. Moreover, the effective collaboration with Aams, via the operators that run Net Entertainment Casino, has been another important factor of success.

 

Providing the ultimate gaming experience every time you introduce a new game to the market is of key importance for a market leader such as Net Entertainment. Björn Krantz summed up the passion which the company has for its products: “We aim to produce the most innovative, and creative games in the world and strive for nothing less than portfolio excellence in combination with technology leadership.”

10 Feb 2012

Spielo International plays three of a kind

bugno2London – After the winning pair, the Lottomatica Group plays three of a kind. Nearly one year from the merger of the two prestigious brands SPIELO and ATRONIC that created SPIELO International, now the third gem of the family joins the group: it is G2, the leading company in the online field.

“With this  latest addition to SPIELO International we will be able to offer complete gaming solutions to all operators, covering every gaming field  – whether it is AWP,  VLTs, casino games or online gaming,” says Walter Bugno, President and CEO of SPIELO International.

 

“What players want more and more today is to have the flexibility to play anywhere, anytime and on any kind of device. From home or at any place with a mobile device as well as in gaming halls and in other dedicated places. Now our company will be able to offer to its customers the ideal solution to this multiple request by providing top performing games and the necessary technology. “

In fact, as SPIELO and ATRONIC are leading brands in the VLT, casino, and AWP fields, also G2 is in a top position in the online gaming market: “G2 is the undisputed leader in sports betting and online casino games and the evident example for the latter is Italy with the great success of the online games on the platform owned by the group, developed by Boss Media. A success that we are ready to repeat with other concessionaires.”

Is SPIELO International looking into further development and new business opportunities? “Of course. Just think of, for example, Italy where the VLT market has shown tremendous success  and is still completing its first phase with about 57.000 installations and it could also lead to a ‘phase two’. There are many other emerging markets where new regulations are being discussed such as Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine and other countries who are considering VLT. Furthermore Spain, with its online gaming market. “

What happens in the casino field? “The industry has been suffering from a decline in recent years that still persists. The situation for casinos has become more difficult – however, they still need to continue to invest in their gaming offering because if not, they   risk losing their customers. I must say I was pleased to notice little signs of recovery though as we ended this last London show with an increase of sales of approx. 20 percent compared to last year.”

08 Feb 2012

The casinos make a date in London and confirm the Eca board

goudsmitronMembers of the European Casino Association (Eca) met in London on 24 January 2012 for the association’s General Assembly. The Eca General Assembly 2012 was attended by Eca members from 22 countries who met to discuss key industry topics including recent and upcoming gambling regulatory and policy developments at EU level. 2011 proved a very busy and exciting year with publication of both the European Commission Green Paper as well as the European Parliament Report on online gambling. The Eca continually provided input, ensuring the voice of Europe’s legal gaming industry was heard. Over the course of 2012, the association will carefully monitor progress of Eu policy development in anticipation of the European Commission’s Communication on gambling expected later this year.

At the General Assembly, reports were also given on progress made in the Eca’s five Working Groups, in which Eca members participate on a voluntary basis to focus on a range of industry-relevant topics, ranging from the Eca Slot Summits (the first of which is to be held in Hanover, Germany on 20-22 March 2012) through to corporate social responsibility and responsible gaming and prevention of illegal gambling activities and money laundering.

 

Board elections were held with six out of seven board seats up for election as set out in the association’s statutes. Members elected Guido Berghmans from Luxemburg, Bruno Cagnon from France, Heliodoro Giner from Spain, Ron Goudsmit from The Netherlands, Matthias Hein from Germany and Dietmar Hoscher from Austria to the Eca board and confirmed the re-appointment of Ron Goudsmit as Chairman and Guido Berghmans as the Vice Chairman of the association. On the contrary th0e Italian Carlo Pagan, CEO of the Casino di Campione and president of Federgioco, was not competing, because he joined the Eca board last June (at the Summer Meeting held in Campione d ‘Italia) so its three-year term will expire in June 2014.

Ron Goudsmit, Chairman of the Eca, congratulated the Working Groups on the progress made: “Thanks to the commitment and proactive efforts of our members, it has been a highly productive year. In 2012, we will continue to promote Eca objectives, using our highly effective information network to contribute to consultations and represent industry interests at European level.”

Eca will promote a lot of the next events: in addition to the mentioned slot Summit, that will take place in April in Helsinki, Finland, the European Croupier Championship (and this time, differently from the past year, also an Italian team will compete), while the Summer Meeting 2012 will have Nova Gorica, Slovenia as location in June.

 

20 Jan 2012

Europe united by equal opportunities

AnnetteKokAgainst unfair competition and equal opportunities between operators. This is the European recipe from the Euromat’s leader, Annette Kok, like she explained in an interview granted to Gioco News Politically, 2011 was a very important year for the European gaming market in large part due to the interest of Commissioner Barnier. Do you feel important results were achieved?

 

 

 

“Indeed, 2011 has been a very important but also quite challenging year for the European gaming industry. As you know, the political discussion around our industry was essentially initiated at the European level by the publication of the long-awaited European Commission’s Green Paper on Online Gambling in the Internal Market at the end of March. But, very important was also the European Parliament’s resolution adopted by the whole of the European Parliament last November. In Euromat we certainly welcomed the arrival of both initiatives and our Federation has been working particularly hard to ensure that the interests’ of the land-based gambling sector were taken into account in this debate. The legal gambling market, and in particular the highly regulated and highly taxed land-based sector, is currently exposed to an unbearable degree of illegal cross-border competition from online gambling operators that are providing their services without a licence, without paying taxes and without meeting any sort of minimum regulatory requirements to ensure a proper consumer protection. It was necessary to have an open debate about how to address this problem in order to effectively regulate this part of the market. Important results have undeniably been achieved, but the work is far from being done. Member States still need to find a way to ensure a proper enforcement of rules for the online gambling sector and ultimately achieve a level playing field across the gambling arena to guarantee the commercial viability of the land-based gambling sector, which -we must not forget- is an important part of any national economy and a major contributor to a state’s revenues”.

 

Do you believe that a Green Paper on land-based gambling could be envisioned for the future?

“There is absolutely no need for any sort of ‘EU’ action when it comes to the land-based gambling sector. We should not forget that gambling is a field in which there are significant social and cultural specificities and which is therefore, and rightfully so, regulated at national level. It is important to respect the principle of subsidiarity, as Member States are unquestionably in a better position to regulate their own gambling markets. In fact, the land-based gambling sector is already a highly regulated, highly taxed sector with strict requirements when it comes to consumer protection. For more than 30 years our industry has proven that it is possible to effectively operate and collaborate within national regulatory frameworks, while guaranteeing the protection of our consumers. Hence, without the cross-border element, that is obvious in the online sector, there is not really any added value from an EU approach. Fortunately enough, the EU institutions seem to clearly understand and support this view”.

Which are the most critical issues that remain to be resolved?

“As I mentioned before, it is necessary to tackle the illegal cross-border competition from online gambling operators. For this, national regulators need to ensure proper enforcement of rules for the online gambling sector. Amongst other things, because the online gambling sector, if not properly regulated, may involve a greater risk of addiction than traditional physical, location based-gambling. Therefore, any eventual legislative exercise concerning online gambling must apply responsible gambling principles in order to guarantee an adequate level of consumer protection. Measures to combat other problems, such as fraud and money laundering are also essential. We also need to make something very clear: online gambling is nothing but the most recent method through which already existing gambling services are distributed. Our members can no longer compete under such unfair circumstances. If this situation persists it will unfortunately be consequently also in detriment of national economies”.

Do you foresee opportunites for growth in the European gambling market?

“People love to gamble. It’s one of the oldest forms of entertainment and it will continue to exist. However, we are living extremely difficult financial times and this will consequently reflect in more limited growth opportunities for the gambling market. In times when developed countries are struggling to overcome the financial crisis, people are also more aware -and careful- with the way they spend their money. Gambling will certainly not be one of their priorities when allocating their household budgets. On top of things, the land-based gambling sector has another challenge. In order to actually foster any potential growth for our industry, it is necessary to ensure parity of rules for all gambling services providers. Without a fair and adequate taxation regime and without ensuring that all operators meet the same regulatory requirements, and that these requirements are properly enforced, it will not be possible for many in the land-based gambling sector to survive”.

What is your impression regarding the Italian gaming market from an outsider’s perspective?

“The Italian gaming market is one of the largest markets in Europe. I understand the Aams, the Italian regulator, is working hard to set clear rules and achieve maximum transparency. Euromat is one of the chief advocates of responsible gambling and we believe that the responsibility to create and adopt effective programmes directed at the protection of consumers lies firstly with the gambling industry but should be a joint effort with national and local regulators, other stakeholders and the customers. We therefore are supportive of the fact that the Aams has put legal and responsible gaming, as well as the fight against illegal gambling, at the core of its strategy. Moreover, the Italian authorities are being quite succesful in their fight against unlawful internet gambling. It is the European Commission’s aim to strenghten the cooperation between national regulators. Italy should certainly be taken as an example of best practices and succesful enforcement of rules”.

20 Jan 2012

Europe united from gaming

europaWhat happens in Europe? A lot of people is asking for this question during last months. The economic and financial crisis has significantly shaken the European Union and it induced the main Countries that are part of it to challenge its role and, even, the reasons for its existence. But the operators of the “gambling” field – as this economic field is internationally identified – are wondering the same, now that the EU commission carried out the matter of the Community regulation (or, at least, of a concerted action) through the Green Paper wanted by Michel Barnier, the Commissioner for the Internal Market. Despite in a similar political context is clearly difficult to talk about any structural reform or only about a mere political action not linked to the present urgencies, the online gaming found the (first) answers, through the introduction by the European Parliament of the report of the German Deputy Jurgen Creutzmann that fixes the basic principles to develop the dialogue in the Commission.

This is a significan step forward with a widespread success. There is only one limit: the mono-referentiality, according to what Eduardo Antoja affirms, an international gaming expert and honorary president of the Euromat association, that represents the operators of the “terrestrial” gaming in Europe: “We obtained an encouraging result at the European parliament, where at least we are discussing the subject of the gaming and its regulation – he states – but at the same time I think that we are making a big mistake because we are only talking about the online gaming, to the point that during last months it seems that only this king of gaming exists that, on the contrary, it only represents 10% of the global market. So we are forgetting the needs of the “terrestrial” market although it represents 90% of the field and so it is the greatest  bearer of revenues and employment. Not to mention, then, that in most Member States the physical gaming would need some interventions”. The Spanish man, now engaged in his land just for the regulation of the online gaming in his Country, he has clear ideas about what we would need in Europe: “I am sure that the big subject to face in Europe is the one of the international taxation, looking for uniformity. If first we don’t face this aspect, we can never find any solution for our field.  And we can not even think to face the subject”.

 

If the industry, as mentioned, is not sure about the international discussion we are facing about the subject of the online gaming, the “political” vision about this subject is different. As Christel Schaldemose, Danish member of the European parliament, explains to Gioco News – the first one to bring the subject of gaming and of the consumer protection to the attention of the Parliament three years ago with its own resolution – the Green Paper and the Creutzmann report are very important documents:

“The report is the result of a broad compromise between the political groups and between different views on the online gambling sector, especially if we should have a directive on this issue or not. I think that it was a good result that the vote underlined, that a directive for the online gambling sector is not a priority compared to other political instruments”. A clear message has been sent to the Commission for the forthcoming work on the issue of online gambling that meets the expectations of the Danish: “I think it is important that the Commission is aware and working on the issues of consumer protection in regards to online gambling. I’m satisfied that the Commission has not focused on a online gambling directive as the sole solution for the issues on the sector”.

“The main focus is to make sure that the member states – in the future – will be able to regulate the online gambling sector themselves. Only by national regulation on online gambling, we can make sure that consumer protection is safeguarded”, says Schaldemose.

Although at the European level, we must see what the future of all concerned after the reversal of British Prime Minister Cameron and the United Kingdom: “I think it is too early to comment on the way the European Union is heading. We need to see how the discussions in the Council ends. But I am certain that a united Europe with as many countries as possible involved is the best solution”.

03 Dec 2011

Online gaming, European Union

online_cartaThe Green Paper on the online gaming of the European Commission is still being completed, but meanwhile the European Parliament approved the report signed by the Deputy Jurgen Creutzmann that outlines the actions to be put into practice. With the approval of Michel Barnier, the Commissioner of the Internal market and the promoter of the consultations, who promises an action plan by next summer. This is not yet a closed chapter, but the result, partly at least, is already obtained. The online gaming as a true “stranger” for the international politics, has found for the first time a stage as important as that of the European Parliament, where it became a topical issue and an interesting international subject.

The evidence is the massive entry by the member states to the consulations promoted by Michel Barnier, the Commissioner of the Internal Market, with the creation of the Green Paper, dedicate to the subject.  Altough the (hopefylly) concrete results will come only in the first half of 2012,  with the final approval of the summary document, the Parliament during past days adopted the report drawn up by Jurgen Creutzmann, German member of the European Parliament, where he outlines the current background where the market of the online gaming is developping and the intents of the different states toward the subject, with also converging points of view (probably another novelty into Europe) as regards the way to take.

 

Altough the regulations ruling this activity change from a country to another, the intent shared through the Creutzmann report is to introduce a single licensing model to assure the safety of the players, in particular for the minors. So it was decided that, in order to obtain a steady and more transparent market, the Member States should introduce a single licensing model and the European Commission, for its part, should consider the idea to stop the economic transactions between the players and the websites offering this service in an irregular manner.  At the same time, however, users should be protected limiting the access to the gaming sites in the web verifying the age and restricting the electronic payments, before starting to play. And about this specific point the Deputies call on the Commission to identify common standards for the operators or a directive.

The Parliament has essentially asked to the Commission to try to promote a closer European cooperation to fight illegal gaming and to protect consumers, but maintaining the subsidiarity, according to which the EU countries must be free to maintain its own rules. However, given the cross-border nature of this activity, should be important to coordinate an European approach for the prevention of the illegal gaming and for the protection of the minors and of the vulnerable people in general. And just this last point  is the key element of the report. This approach has the approval of the Commissioner Barnier, who is satisfied of the wide participation to the consultations: “Eighteen months ago I promised to open wide consultations on the important subject of the online gaming – explained the Commissioner to the Parliament – and now I want to reaffirm the strong determination to realize these main deductions. From these consultations we received almost 250 feedbacks thanks to the five seminars of experts that we organized and with the very interesting discussion obtained with the Creutzmann report”. Every State is “free to decide its own opening principle of its own gaming market – added Bernier – but it is clear that we are going to a controlled European opening. Also, if there won’t be a legal offer in Europe, the players will continue to play on illegal websites of other countries with a lot of risks, such as laundering, and without any protection”. The Frenchman has clear ideas about the strategy to follow: immediately activate the confrontation between the national regolatory bodies that rule the various gaming markets in the member states to “lay the foundations for a real cooperation”, and get to the writing of “shared regulations”. Promising to get “right on work, wit the intention to propose, after a deliberation of the Board, a real action plan to be submitted to the Commssioners Board at the half of 2012”.

The reflections of the Commissioner confirm the strong will of action toward the online gaming. “The report has demonstrated a convergent vision. Nobody in a Member State can protect alone the consumers and the citizens, who must have an assured effective minimum regulation apart of the gaming platform”. Today the online gaming is a growing field that represents 14% of the gaming market of the Union, but Europe represents 45% of the online market of the world: “A growth that must be managed”, according to Barnier. But without too many (and useless) illusions: “We must be honest: the harmonization is not a priority of the road map to face these challenges and to asnwer to the questions” – but it is clear that Europe can “produce some common actions on some key aspects, in order to make a common base regulation”.

But in addiction to the safety and the consumer protection, the issue of the fight to the frauds remains, another target widely shared at the Parliament, with the general will to include the online gaming market in the enforcement of the Directive on money laundering that  today concerns only the casinò field.

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.”