The world of online gambling is growing fast, with two major developments on the horizon. The first is Italy moving towards growing its online casino industry; the second, the potential for legal online gambling in the American state of Michigan.
Italy plans to open license applications for online casino operators. Online gambling is already legal in Italy, however limited numbers of licenses mean that players have a small selection of options to choose from for gaming.
According to reports from the Italian Government, up to 120 new online gambling licenses will be released to gaming operators over the near future. Analysts believe that approximately one third of these will be given to Italy’s existing online gambling operators.
The applications aren’t cheap, however. Reports state that operators interested in acquiring a license will need to pay 200 million euros (£177.8 million) to apply, with a two-month period for preparing and submitting their applications.
Licenses will be current until the end of 2022, allowing operators to participate in Italy’s online gaming market for several years. The move is viewed as a major opportunity for Europe-based online casino operators interested in expanding into the Italian market.
It could also signal an opportunity for online casino operators that primarily serve the UK, such as Casino.NetBet.co.uk.
In 2016, the Italian online gaming market generated more than one billion euros in revenue and grew its size by 25% compared to the previous year. Almost half of total revenue from gambling in Italy came from casino betting, with sports betting responsible for around 350 million euros.
The move could potentially be a significant asset for Italy, which has failed to grow its economy over the past year. According to the BBC, Italy’s second-quarter growth in 2016 was 0%, with a lack of economic progress contributing to unemployment and debt issues.
Another interesting online gambling industry developing is taking place across the Atlantic, in the American state of Michigan.
In an attempt to fuel growth and develop the state’s economy, members of the Michigan House of Representatives are discussing an online gambling bill called HB 4926, which could allow for online gambling in the state.
The bill is currently supported by the state’s former Attorney General Mike Cox, who recently testified in support of the bill. Opponents of HB 4926 include the state’s existing casino gaming industry, which has lobbied against it, and one Michigan-based gaming tribe.
Like the developments in Italy, the legalisation of online gambling in Michigan could produce opportunities for UK-based companies interested in expanding their operations into the United States.
Currently, neither measure has passed into law. It’s also unlikely that the Michigan bill will go ahead as quickly as the proposed legal developments in Italy. However, both proposals appear to be serious ones, with large-scale support and potential.
Should either pass, it could potentially create new opportunities for online casino operators both in and outside the UK interested in moving into new markets and reaching new audiences.