Italy Lockdown to Have Major Impact on Retail Gambling Sector

  • Betting shops, arcades, and bingo halls have all been closed until at least April 3
  • Only a few retail gambling facilities remain open, but this may change shortly
  • Increase in online gambling activity since the country's restrictions came into place
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Italy’s restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus are set to have a significant impact on the country’s retail gambling sector. [Image:]

Worrying times in Italy

The whole of Italy is in lockdown due to the rapid spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) across the country, leading to concerns about the impact it will have on the country’s retail gambling sector. 

While exact figures cannot be put on what sort of impact the shutdown will have on these operations, it is likely going to be significant. Since March 10, all betting shops, bingo halls, and arcades in Italy have been closed. These facilities will remain closed until at least April 3, 2020. The likes of gyms, pubs, discos, theaters, and cinemas have also been shut down.

facilities will remain closed until at least April 3, 2020

Funerals and weddings are being canceled, as well as many sports events. The government has told citizens not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary. 

Only a few establishments remain open

A few bastions of the retail gambling sector remain active. Amusement with prize (AWP) machines located in hotels, restaurants, and bars can still be played.

These will remain active only if the given operator can ensure that there is a single meter of distance maintained at all times between each patron. The same goes for tobacconists with betting kiosks. One restriction on these establishments is the new opening hours of between 6am and 6pm.

There are still concerns that these types of establishments will themselves be shut down if the situation continues to worsen in Italy.

Some private clubs that allow gambling can remain open, but this also may change as the government is worried about any form of public gathering that could spread the virus any further. 

Some potential green shoots

The online gambling platforms in Italy may see an increase in revenue with the curtailment of retail gambling facilities.

Online gambling software provider GAN, for example, noted yesterday that its online gambling operations have seen an uptick of 8.4% for the year to date. Since the first restrictions came into place in Italy on February 23, the number of bets going processed via GAN software increased by almost 14% in the following few weeks.

However, the supplier of sports betting operations in more than 2,000 internet cafes in Italy has seen its share price drop by almost 19% in the past few days.

A global issue

It is not just the gambling sector in Italy that is being affected by the spreading of the coronavirus. In Macau, casinos shut down for 15 days during February to try and combat the issue. For February, casinos in the region reported that their combined revenues were down almost 88%

Casinos in Las Vegas have been ramping up preventative measures in recent weeks, but share prices of the city’s major hotel groups have been suffering significantly nonetheless as tourism levels plummet. 

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