Online gambling booms in Italy as AWPs suffer

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Cashbox revenues in Italian AWPs have crashed by 22 per cent in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and the government’s subsequent forced closure of many venues.

Equally, turnover on website gambling has increased, report our colleagues at the Italian publication, Gioco News. In the first week of March, collections from AWPs and VLTs showed a drop of 33.3 per cent compared with the previous year and the industry is preparing for more of the same.

“And this is going to be worse, because in the first eight days of March only gaming venues in Lombardy had been completely closed,” said the publication’s Alessio Crisantemi.

This week the full impact is being felt on all gaming venues, including betting and bingo locations. Games located in other places will still be available for play, provided that the appropriate recommendations on how to frequent the locations are followed, but all of those venues have to close by 6pm.

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A survey by Gioco News found that in January revenues at gaming locations were down by 1.2 per cent and in February 3.5 per cent. This trend was dictated by various new measures taken by national and regional laws particularly affecting taxes. The epidemic made the situation worse.

Video lotteries, said Crisantemi, were also under pressure due to the introduction at the start of the year of the “health card” that had to be used on activating terminals. From a position of -19.6 per cent in January, collections from VLTs dropped by 20.9 per cent in February and then to -33.3 per cent in the first eight days of March.

“We expect the rest of the month to show a decrease of as much as 75 per cent,” he said. “But online gambling is taking advantage of the situation. In February there had been a surge in spending on casino games with a 27 per cent increase compared with the previous year. It was already up by 15 per cent in the last quarter of 2019.”

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