Last month marked a substantial overall rise in revenue across the regulated iGaming market in Italy, up by 14% on April’s total and 94% on May. Much of the latter, however, was heavily impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Sports betting leads the way
May saw the sports betting vertical lead the market on its upwards trend. This came at a critical moment when casino revenue had been dropping for two consecutive months. Sports betting gross gaming revenue (GGR) rose to over €153 million ($181 million) in May, despite the continuing retail closures.
Casino revenue added up to €155.1 million ($183 million) last month, a slight drop of 3.8% on April’s figures. However, this is still an impressive 32% rise ove last May, which brings it on par with sports gambling, with its huge 48.3% rise in April. With online casinos accounting for 47.22% of the market and sports betting accounting for 46.74%, this change of fortune pushed both verticals to be essentially on identical levels.
Ups and Downs Across the Markets
Despite the closure of stores across Italy, betting brands with a retail presence still fared better than their online-only counterparts. Bet365, an online-only provider, saw its market share continue to fall last month, now staying at 8.9%, which is its lowest point in the last four years. Other gambling providers, however, saw their share of the market increase. Sisal led the race with a share of 13.1%, which is up from 12.8% from the previous month. Goldbet was slightly behind with 12.8%, a 1% increase from last month.
Online-only PokerStars had a drop in its chunk of the market, holding a fragile lead with a share of 9.82% in May. The poker giant still remains supreme when it comes to its popularity when it comes to poker in Italy, its share being over 48% for tournaments and 42% for cash games in May. Right after that comes Sisal, with a share of 9.10%, and Lottomatica comes in at third place with 7.99%.
Poker Falls Out of Favor in Italy
Despite all this, the Italian poker market is continuing its downward trend. This is unlikely to provide much comfort to PokerStars, considering that last month poker GGR of both cash and tournament fell by 16% and 21%, respectively. The revenue for this past May is actually even worse when compared against May of last year, with tournament revenue down 42.2% and cash revenue dropping 36.4%.
Paradoxically, the closure of physical venues due to the pandemic hasn’t led to the rise in popularity of online-only betting and gambling services. It seems that people in Italy are far more trusting of already well-established physical venues and have not yet been ready to embrace the digital alternatives.