The COVID-19 pandemic has caused havoc around the globe. It’s not just the appalling amount of lives lost but also the effect it has had on the global economy. Italy has suffered greatly, but how has the crisis affected the online gambling industry?
Italy has been in lockdown now since March 8 and that, of course, has caused problems galore for the many betting shops in the country. Toronto-based sports betting and gaming group Newgioco have temporarily closed their 150 betting shops due to the lockdown.
Land-based gambling companies have been offered help from the Italian government via the ‘Curia Italia’ decree. This is an economic package that is designed to help businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. There has also been the decision to suspend license fees for bingo operators while the crisis continues.
However, the crisis hasn’t stopped Newgioco from continuing to trade online and via mobile phones. In fact, business is going rather well, with between 200 and 300 new accounts being created every day since the lockdown began. The company now has a smart-work initiative to ensure its staff remains safe during the pandemic. The surge in interest is no surprise, with a massive increase in the use of the internet during the ongoing lockdown.
It’s still not easy for the online gambling industry in Italy. The way in which they are conducting their business has had to change. Sites would normally be offering odds on top football league Serie A. However, that has been suspended, so the opportunity for gamblers to place bets on Juventus, Inter Milan, and the rest of the top teams isn’t there. Instead, odds are being offered on football leagues in Belarus and Nicaragua.
The lack of sporting action, particularly football, has put the sites into the situation they usually find themselves in during the summer when top leagues aren’t playing.
There’s a higher emphasis on casino games and more odds are being offered on esports until the sporting calendar resumes. Sites such as slotjava.it have free slots to play and also the latest gambling news.
Newgioco CEO Michele Ciavarella still expects “the complete shutdown of global sports will affect our overall results for this period and until the crisis is resolved.”
There have been concerns about new online gambling sites opening to take advantage of the crisis and even the Mafia getting involved. It is important that before joining a site of this nature, you do some research. Look at reviews and check out how they deal with financial transactions.
It is best to deal with long-standing gambling sites about which a great deal has been written, especially in positive ways.
2018 saw a ban on gambling advertising and sponsorship. Italian cubs are now asking for that ban to be lifted. It’s believed that the ban is costing clubs, now desperate for some revenue, €100m a year. That could be more good news for the online gambling industry once sport does resume.