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Italy bans 'totem' public poker terminals

The giant Italian gambling company Microgame will no doubt be considering its options following the latest move by the Italian regulator AAMS this week - the banning of public gaming terminals. The terminals - known as 'totems' - are found in coffee shops and other public places and connect to poker e-gaming websites mainly associated with the Microgame network. So successful are the terminals that as much as 30% of Italian poker turnover is generated from the machines.

The AAMS move is understood to have been motivated by complaints from competing poker operators, who have made substantial investments in the dedicated Italian poker market but are experiencing difficulty in prevailing against the massive market share of entrenched companies such as Microgame that dominate the market.

Companies that stand to benefit from the new ban include online poker giants that have introduced dedicated Italian poker networks such as Bwin, Microgaming and Pokerstars. It will undoubtedly improve the chances of new entrants to this lucrative market.

Microgame's owners, Monitor Clipper Partners, are unlikely to be pleased with the new development, having acquired the company late last year with an eye on the booming Italian poker business it was attracting. The Italian poker sector is estimated to be the largest in Europe, with analysts predicting that it will hold 22% of total European poker market share by the end of this year.

Microgame, which posted a poker turnover of €248 million in Q1/2010 holds just under 30% of the local poker market, compared with the other major players in the sector: Bwin's 17%, Pokerstars' almost 18% and Lottomatica's 11.2%. Microgame also achieved Q1 turnover on internet sports betting of €130.1 million.

Source: InfoPowa News

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