The Italian version of PokerStars has now grabbed a 70% share of the country’s total online poker market.
In August, the Italian online poker market generated €34.7 million in revenues, which was 13% more than the revenue of €30.7 million generated by PokerStars Italy in July.
PokerStars’ secrets of success are excellent marketing strategies and sophisticated online poker gaming software. At present, PokerStars attracts a seven-day average of 17,500 players, and its top competitor 888 Poker gets a seven-day average of only 2,300 players. Italy is not the only ring-fenced online poker market PokerStars is dominating, but in Italy, PokerStars gets 1,350 players to its cash game tables while International.it gets only 260 players and iPoker.it gets only 400 players, according to data supplied by PokerScout.com, the prominent online poker traffic tracking site.
In its August report, PokerStars.it claims that its market share, which was 61% in July, has now grown. Commenting on this development, Claudio Poggi, an Italian online poker reporter, said: “PokerStars is perceived as the industry leader, and that’s why everyone goes to play there. PokerStars also has a media exposure that other competitors do not have. Some of the other rooms have tried to fill the gap, but I think the difference between them and PokerStars was simply too big.”
Although PokerStars continues to be successful in Italy, the online poker market in the country continues to steadily decline. The country’s €50 million poker revenue this August was 11.7% lesser than that generated in August 2013. In fact, Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars’ sister site, decided not to launch an online poker room in Italy because Italy’s online poker market is rapidly declining.
Undoubtedly, Italy’s online poker market has declined because the country ring-fenced its players, leading to poor liquidity. But Pier Carlo Padoan, the country’s finance minister, says that the regulated Internet poker market fell because of unregulated sites that continue to accept Italian players. According to Padoan, Italy loses as much as €122 million to unregulated sites every year. The Finance Ministry has therefore created “Report on Tax Evasion,” a 140-page document that unveils plans to deal with the issue.
Part of the document says, “The law enforcement operations against various illegal activities related to gambling aim not only to fight against tax evasion, but also to protect the market from the attempts of infiltration of organized crime, money laundering activities and at the same time protect consumers from unsafe and dangerous game offerings.”