News from the Italian Gaming Market

August 22nd, 2011  |  Published in Casino News

Several years back Italy opted for limited regulated online gambling regulations which focused specifically on online poker tournaments. In the middle of July 2011, the operators licensed by the Italian Regulatory Authority started delivering online casino games. Furthermore, November 2011 is the date for online poker cash games.

Turnover Tax

In the European Continent, regulatory authorities are levying a tax on the turnover of online gambling. The Italian regulatory body accepted the recommendation from the online gaming industry and enacted the 20 percent to gross profits. Analysts are closely monitoring the taxation policy to see if it generates the predicted revenue. If the revenues are not close to the predicted number, the regulatory body will switch to turnover taxation.

Rise in Gaming Volumes

Since the enactment of online gambling, Italian players have flocked to the activity in droves. Gaming volumes continue to increase between three and ten times higher per week than the past. Turnover estimates for the Italian gambling market for 2011 surpassed 10 billion Euros. For 2012, the estimates are at over 20 billion Euros. There are two contributing factors for the predicted success: launch of online slot games and entry of foreign operators.

Advertisements Boosting Participation

Immediately following the launch of online casino games, television and online advertising campaigns were released. This contributed to the significant growth of online gambling in Italy. Those operators who have already applied for the license are attempting to enter the market and immediately grab a large share prior to the competition.

Playtech’s Involvement

Leading online gambling software developer, Playtech, is now one of the largest companies in the Italian market. Playtech was the first online casino to complete the testing process for the online casino while complying with regulatory bodies. There are also several Playtech licensees operating in the Italian market including Buoniorno, Sisal, WHO and SNAI. Each casino delivers a variety of Playtech games to its players.

Additionally, Playtech has been offering online poker tournaments at these casinos since 2008. The success of these tournaments is attributed to the iPoker Poker Network. Beginning in November 2011, Playtech will be providing cash games.

The Italian online gambling market appears to be running smoothly with several important dates coming in the near future that will expand the activity. Also, with the entrance of foreign operators, taxation levels will rise for the country. Given the current financial landscape of Europe, this will significantly help the country.

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New Lobbying for Online Gambling in the U.S.

August 15th, 2011  |  Published in Casino News

The current structures lobbying for a regulated online gambling environment in the United States have not yet been successful. Therefore it comes as no surprise that a new initiative has been released. This initiative is a combination of many existing ideas for the activity. However, only time will reveal whether or not the proposal is successful.

Advisory Board

Aptly named, “FairPlayUSA”, the new initiative is described as an advisory board based out of Washington, D.C. The objective of the group is to educate policymakers on the need to change the current federal gambling laws. There are three primary areas that will be targeted by FairPlayUSA; strong law enforcement and strict regulation, rights of adults to engage in online gambling and consumer and child protection. This will focus solely on online poker.

The Board

The board of the advocacy group includes some of the best-known personalities. For instance, American lawyer, Parry Aftab, is well-known for his knowledge with regards to Internet privacy and security law. Also, former Secretary of Homeland Security and Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Ride is on the board. Professional poker player Greg Raymer will represent the poker community. Finally, the Executive Director of the board is Marisa McNee.

Educating the Risks of Illegal Gambling

To achieve its primary objectives, FairPlayUSA is planning to incorporate poker players, law enforcement officials, Internet consumer protection advocates and many others involved with the risks of illegal online gambling that occurs around the country. The funding for the group was provided by Caesars and MGM. Caesars has been a major voice for advocating a federal online gambling environment compared with intrastate legislation.

First Step

The initial step taken by the group has been through a petition from its website which calls Congress to focus on the many problems associated with offshore online gambling. Also, the petition calls for giving law enforcement officials the tools to eradicate the activity on illegal sites and then establish a regulatory infrastructure to ensure the highest integrity and safety are followed.

Laying the Foundation

There are currently several bills working toward establishing an online gambling environment. However, FairPlayUSA does not support any specific legislation but aims to lay the foundation from which future legislation should be based. This will include the formal definition of what is illegal, who can prohibit the activity and how the player’s deposits will be maintained. Although there is much work to be done, it looks as if the U.S. is headed in the right direction.

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Online Gambling Moving Forward in Washington, D.C.

June 30th, 2011  |  Published in Casino News

Over the past several weeks, many concerns have risen with regards to the initiative of the Washington, D.C. council to introduce regulated online gambling. One of the greatest concerns was regarding the conflict of interest from an independent councilor who was employed by a legal firm with their hand in online gambling. The other major issue was the silence that Congress has maintained on the passing of a gambling bill.

Implementing an Online Gambling System

Regardless of these two concerns, the D.C. Lottery has decided to proceed with plans for implementing an online system for those living in the District. In a report released by the Washington Times, six online casino games will initially be offered which include, blackjack, Texas Hold’em and bingo. At first, the games will be available in demonstration mode to allow players get acquainted with the system.

Initial Point System for Wagering

The games will feature a point system in lieu of monetary wagering. This will also give developers the chance to tweak the software. The real money games will then be available four to six weeks following the implementation of demonstration mode. The games will initially only be available at public terminals known as platinum sponsors. To be eligible, players must be at least 19 and log in from within the city limits.

Streamlining the Process

Furthermore, the typical online gambling industry prohibitions of creating more than a single account and giving others access to that account will apply. Supporters of the gaming have stated that it is extremely critical to get the technology right the first time. This includes preventing players from logging in from outside of Washington, D.C.

Adding Revenue to the City Budget

The legalization and implementation of the system will bring millions of dollars in revenue to the city. For many cities, this revenue could make a significant difference. Future additions include additional online poker games, random number games, electronic instant tickets and Victory at Sea, a Battleship-type online wagering game.

On June 29th, 2011, the Chairman of the Committee on Finance and Revenue will be involved in a hearing on future plans. This meeting is vital because the online gambling measure was added to the budget without public vetting. Therefore, the District’s CFO, Attorney General and other important parties will be briefed on how the system will work and why Washington is the first city to undertake the task.

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