Industry Q1 2020 figures released by Italy’s customs and monopolies agency (ADM) portrayed the grim reality of COVID-19 losses on the incumbents of Italian betting.
Italian betting reported a near collapse across its retail and betting outlets, reporting only 10 days of wagering activity during March.
ADM estimates indicate that online betting revenues (GGR) for March fell to around €49 million, reflecting a 43 percent decrease relative to month-to-month comparisons for February.
However, declines in online betting appear mild compared to retail damage, as Italian betting shops reported a total GGR of just €26 million (-73 percent) during the March trading.
With Italy introducing the harshest lockout measures in Europe, retail stakeholders should be braced for further horror displays as incumbents experience a possible two-month stretch of no active sales.
Retail incumbents were provided with a slight relief, as the Italian government would require tobacconists to turn on betting terminals on May 11, adhering to social distancing measures in-store.
In the meantime, following online operators changing their sportsbook deals during lockout, Italian customers have struggled to connect with Russian table tennis, Belarus and Nicaraguan football and sports ‘alternative markets.’
Market turnover for sports was estimated at an average of €5,000 per match, while the Belarus Premier League reported turnover of around €300,000 per match.
The desperate circumstances leave Italian bookmakers hoping the government would keep its pledge to allow Serie A Football to return on May 18. The figures in March will show a marked rise in online gambling spending (casino and poker), which rose by 33 percent to €120 million (February 2020: €90 million).
A breakdown of segments described online casino games as ‘the lifeline of the industry,’ reporting €94 million of all online gaming revenues.
Tracking its licenced incumbents, the ADM has retained its previous industry impact estimate, under which it anticipates a cumulative loss of €750 m – divided for the Italian state at €450 m and €300 for its incumbents.