brands, market shares and legal limitations

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Which are the best online casinos in Italy?

In this article we are going to find out which are the best online casinos in Italy, but also the limitations resulting from the regulations enforced within the Italian territory surrounding the promotion of businesses operating in the world of online betting.

Having said that, Italian casinos are regulated by the Italian Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM), which means that all legal casinos authorised to operate are ADM-AAMS certified. In order to receive this certification, online casinos in Italy must pass a series of strict controls and must also make a significant financial investment.

There are many legal online Italian casinos, and here you can find a full detailed comparison of the best online casinos in Italy.

Are there international brands operating online casinos in Italy?

Many international brands operate their online casinos in Italy, among them we can find:

  • William Hill: Founded in 1934, William Hill has become one of the largest sports betting and gaming organisations in the world and is the UK’s number one organisation with more than 2,300 corners in the UK and Ireland. Back in 1998 William Hill was one of the first to launch online betting and gaming services and
    today their platform supports over 21 languages across more than 175 countries, and the Italian site is licensed by AAMS. From the very beginning the company has been synonymous with fair gaming and professional service. William Hill is also listed as one of the top 250 FTSE companies in London.
  • PokerStars: PokerStars Casino is owned by Rational Entertainment Enterprises LTD and is part of the Stars Group, a global leader in online gambling. As one of the most famous names in the market, PokerStars has been in the industry since 2001 and is the regular choice for most online poker players. PokerStars Casino was launched in November 2015 as a complement to their booming poker business.
  • LeoVegas: LeoVegas is a Swedish online gaming company founded in 2011 by Gustav Hagman and Robin Ramm-Ericson. Since November 2017 it has been present on the Italian casinos market as LeoVegas.it, providing online betting services, and allowing users to play other games such as casino and video slots. The company LeoVegas Gaming Ltd. is a brand of LeoVegas AB, a joint stock company also listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq index.
  • Netbet: NetBet is an online sports betting and casino operator which offers various services such as sportsbook, online casino, online poker, and a live casino with offices in the UK, Malta, and Romania.

In addition to the most popular ones there are Italian casinos that are only present in Italy but depend on international brands such as:

  • Entain’s Gioco Digitale: Entain plc (formerly GVC Holdings) is a British sports betting and gaming company that owns brands such as Coral, Ladbrokes, PartyPoker and Sportingbet. It also owns one of the best online casinos in Italy, Gioco Digitale launched in 2008, that was the first site to be fully regulated. It immediately positioned itself as a gambling portal for casual users, focusing mainly on products such as casino and bingo.

Italian casinos Brands’ Market Shares

 

In 2020, the online Italian casinos market saw a strong growth due to the lockdown. As of October 2020 a total of €103.6 million has been spent in this market, an increase of 57.5% from the previous year (€65.7 million in 2019).

But how are these revenues distributed among the best online Italian casinos?

The market data updated to 2020 on Italian casinos saw Pokerstars lead with 11.46%, taking the biggest slice. It was followed by Sisal with 9.06%, Lottomatica with 7.93%, Eurobet with 6.33%, William Hill with 2.64%, and finally LeoVegas with a share of 1.78%.

We can therefore say that the market is led by an international company that operates in most countries under the same name, Pokerstars.

Legal limitations for online casinos in Italy

 

The online game was regulated in Italy in 2006 with the legislative decree 223/2006. The regulatory system has been appealed several times by operators from other states, but all legal proceedings have confirmed the full validity and applicability of the Italian licensing regime for online gaming.

Any operator licensed anywhere in the EEA, with a minimum gaming turnover of EUR 1.5 million in the last two years and meeting the standard requirements, is in principle eligible to apply for an ADM concession. In general, Italian law gives legal entities the right to apply for a concession for the management of gaming activities, while individuals are not granted the same possibility.

The only way to make such an application is to participate in the public procedures that are announced by the Regulatory Authority. The number of concessions that can be granted for online casinos in Italy is decided by the Government, while the duration of the concessions is established from time to time in the contract concluded between the State and the concession holder.

Currently, the key requirements for Italian casinos are the following:

1. The operator must alternatively have a gaming license issued by any European State (for at least one of the games authorised in Italy) or an adequate technical capacity, i.e. sufficient infrastructure to offer at least one of the games authorised in Italy, and a bank or insurance guarantee of €1,500,000.

2. Minimum share capital of €1,500,000, proven by financial statements for the last two years of activity related to the gaming sector.

3. It is not expressly required that the servers be located in Italy, but they must be located within the territory of a European State.

“Decreto Dignità” and how it affects companies’ promotion

The Decree-Law No. 87 of 2018, also known as the “Decreto Dignità”, introduced an absolute ban on the advertising of games and bets including sponsorships and forms of indirect advertising. In particular, Article 9 concerns the prohibition of any form of advertising, including indirect advertising, relating to games or bets with money winnings, regardless of the medium used, including sports, cultural or artistic events.

Excluded from the prohibition are national lotteries with deferred draws, lotteries and tombolas organised at local level for charity and must include the logos of the Customs and Monopolies Agency. Violations of the regulations are subject to a sanction of 20% of the value of the sponsorship or advertising, with a minimum amount of €50,000 per violation.

The Authority for Communications Guarantees (AGCOM) is the body responsible for imposing sanctions, which go into the Fund for countering pathological gaming. Until 2018, gambling advertising was allowed within certain limits. In particular, the 2016 Stability Law (Legge di Stabilità) had introduced a series of prohibitions with reference to gaming advertising, implementing the principles contained in Recommendation no. 478/2014 of the European Commission.

It was forbidden to advertise excessive gambling, to deny the risks associated with gambling, to advertise gambling as a means of solving financial problems, target or refer to minors, to make unfounded statements about the chances of winning.

It was also prohibited to advertise games with cash winnings on national and local radio and television broadcasts from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, except specialised media, identified by decree of the Minister for the Economy in agreement with the Minister for Economic Development, and national lotteries.

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