Italian government flags casino shutdown
A fresh outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has prompted the government to order lockdown restrictions, which mean the local casino industry will be closed once again.
Calvin Ayre reports Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that Italy would go into a second lockdown period until November 24.
The move is a blow to the country’s casino and gaming industry, as they struggle to stage an economic recovery in the last quarter of 2020.
The restrictions include the full closure of bars and restaurants until 6pm on weekdays and full closures on Sundays.
Businesses deemed to be non-essential have also been instructed to shut down by the government.
Despite the restrictions, some parts of the gaming industry are still afloat, with local residents able to purchase lotto tickets at outlets under strict social distancing guidelines.
Italian gaming operators have voiced their discontent with the latest rules, with the main trade bodies for the gambling industry lobbying for an end to the lockdown.
Gaming industry leaders have cited the strict biosecurity protocols that local retailers and operators have imposed on customers.
No cases of coronavirus have been reported at gambling venues for several weeks across Italy.
The latest lockdown will have swift economic percussions for the Italian gaming industry.
Italian news outlets have reported that the industry is faced with a loss of US$2.1 billion as a result of the latest lockdown measures.
The latest lockdown is expected to push local customers towards black markets.
The decision to put a stop on gambling has led to political infighting across both sides of politics in the Italian parliament during the past 12 months.
In June, Forza Italia politician Andrea Ruggeri opposed the measures, arguing that the enforced closure will push locals towards illegal gambling.
“There is a market for gambling activities in Italy. It is legal and it is lucrative for the state.”
“Every other business has reopened. Keeping gambling activities shut has allowed illegal activities to thrive,” he said.
Pragmatic Play inks new deal to expand live casino offering
Pragmatic Play is expanding its live casino roster, agreeing to a deal with software provider BlueOcean Gaming.
Casino Beats reported in June that Pragmatic Play is making good on its commitment to expand its online casino market, with this latest deal following a string of distribution deals inked with 888 Holdings, PayOJO and BetMotion last month.
Pragmatic Play vice president Lena Yasir said of this latest partnership: “BlueOcean Gaming has a fantastic reputation in the industry, and we’re delighted to be expanding our audience with the company.”
“Our aim is to enhance the Pragmatic Play brand and deliver our innovative games to as many players as possible and we’re delighted to collaborate with the brand.”
Under the terms of the deal, BlueOcean, owners of the GameHub aggregation platform, as well as white label and turnkey iGaming solutions, is to access a variety of titles, including classics such as roulette, baccarat and blackjack, as well as local products and speed variants.
BlueOcean Gaming chief executive Dejan Jovic said: “Pragmatic Play’s state-of-the-art live casino product is one of the most popular on the market and will make a great addition to our diverse and vibrant offering.
“Providing our customers with the best gambling experience possible means incorporating the sector’s most innovative products, and we know our fans will be thrilled with this new offering.”
During August, Pragmatic Play’s new African continent manager Solomon Godwin discussed what the multi-product supplier has planned as part of its expansion in the region, which is described as one of the most untapped for online gaming.
“It absolutely has the potential to be the next explosive iGaming market. South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria are all gearing up to be major players in the continent going forward. The key will be if sports bettors can be converted into online gaming,” he said.