Italy's Gaming Market Takes the First Hit from Coronavirus

Published March 11, 2020 by Lee R

Italy's Gaming Market Takes the First Hit from Coronavirus

A sweeping closure of public gatherings in Italy has pulled Gaming activity and venues into its wake.

Corona is catching gaming in Italy as well.

The Closures

On Tuesday, March 10th, the country with Europe's highest rate of coronavirus announced the the closure of betting shops, arcades and bingo halls nationwide until at least April 3rd.

Greater Shut-Downs

A greater moratorium in Italy extending to public events such as weddings and funerals includes Serie A sporting events, accompanied by a government advisory to citizens to avoid non-essential travel which will curtail attendance and travel to matches where much betting activity takes place.

Exceptions, for Now

Italian expert Alessio Crisantemi of asserts that the closures should not be interpreted as a total shut-down of the retail gambling industry. He pointed out that amusement with prizes (AWP) machines available in land-based venues such as bars; tobacconists; restaurants; and hotels will remain operational and earning revenue, as long as operators ensure a distance of at least one metre between players is maintained.

Narrowing Activity Hours

All aforementioned venues will be subject to narrowed opening hours between 6 AM and 6 PM.

Lingering Variables

Despite this assurance, Crisantemi further added that “interpretative doubts” remained about whether venues such as bars, tobacconists or restaurants with gaming devices in separate rooms can stay open, and remain compliant with corona guidelines.

Projected Impact

A worst-case scenario provided by industry analysts H2 Gambling Capital in March projects an 8% year-on-year decline in global gambling revenue in 2020.

A map based on observations of shut-downs in China and quarantine protocols Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea indicates a 1% minimum decline in Italy's gaming industry for 2020--4.8% below H2’s original undisrupted 2020 forecast of $475bn.


It is important to note that global gaming industry figures would be impacted further when disrupted figures from other markets come in. The variable still appears to be whether the coronavirus outbreak gets works or stabilizes and then is reduced.

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