GGPoker urges Italy's legislature to join multi-national online poker markets

Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: February 15, 2024 12:37 PST

International online-poker giant GGPoker has petitioned Italy's legislature to make changes to the country's online-gambling codes, which are currently being reviewed, to allow Italy's online players to rejoin the international online-poker market.

Italy is one of four western European nations, along with France, Spain, and Portugal, that years ago enacted restrictive online-gambling regulations that blocked citizens from participating on sites outside their own country. The firewalled nations have battled to build and sustain a sufficiently large player pool ever since.

Of the four nations, Italy's once-thriving online-poker space has taken the largest hit. In 2017, all four of the firewalled countries approved a pact where players could participate on sites open to just those four countries. However, out of what GGPoker described in general terms as a form of political indifference, Italy never ratified the pact. That left Italy as a standalone market, with predictable results: online poker now comprises only four percent of the country's online gambling market. GGPoker is available in most European jurisdictions, but as with many other global operators, is not available in Italy.

GGPoker consultant testifies at Italian Senate hearing

Recently, Marco Trucco, institutional relations consultant for GGPOKER, testified before Italy's Senate Finance Commission, which is considering a possible reorganization of Italy's regulated online-gambling market. Trucco's and GGPoker's aims are to convince Italian legislators to create a carveout for online poker in any reorganization or modernization that takes place.

“With a [rule] that requires operators to make an important economic contribution, I believe it is worth considering finally offering international operators still dealing with poker a competitive product or at least not letting it die completely," Trucco stated, "therefore allowing you to connect to international platforms and play with other countries on the network, maintaining all the precautions and restrictions already foreseen. From an economic point of view, this would bring poker back to being a competitive product, generating an increase estimated at around 25 million euros in [annual] revenue.

"There is no risk in this," Trucco added. "All the most stringent and well-resourced regulators in the world, such as the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Romania, the United Kingdom and Denmark, have poker in global liquidity and have not had any problems."

GGPoker also submitted a four-page memorandum to the Italian Senate committee explaining the reasons in favor of Italy embracing international online-poker platforms. Among them is the fact that the Italy-only online regulatory regime was intended to be only a temporary solution, but the matter has been ignored since the "temporary" went into effect in 2011. Since then, only Italy-based operators could seek government licensing. That restriction may have worked for other forms of online gambling, but as GGPoker is emphasizing, it has had severe adverse impacts on the Italian poker market.