Italian Regulated Online Poker Market Continues to Slide
L’Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato (AAMS) released poker site cash game revenue figures for February which show a continued decline in overall revenues. Total revenues from Gross Game Rake were €37.7 million, a fall of 6% in tournament rake and 13% in ring game rake.
The rate of decline has slowed compared to the previous six months which may mean that revenues could be close to their low point. PokerStars and Microgame sites have suffered less than Ongame, Playtech (iPoker) and Gioco Online Italia, but are still registering lower numbers.
Microgame (operator of the People’s Poker Network) retains the largest market share of cash games with 27.8%, down from 28% in January. PokerStars is gaining, up from 24% to 25.8%. All the other poker rooms saw small declines in market share although SNAI almost managed to stand still on 4.4%.
The Italian regulator did not allow cash games when the market was first brought under its authority. New players could play tournaments only, but many switched to cash games following their inclusion in the regulatory regime in mid-2011. Inevitably the share of revenues accounted for by tournaments has declined, down 48.7% since February last year.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is pushing some stringent austerity measures through Parliament in response to the economic crisis. An unemployment rate at 9.3% and rising is bound to have an effect on total poker revenues in the coming months.