Italy’s recent decision to counter its coronavirus outbreak by extending a range of severe lockdown measures nationwide is reportedly expected to severely hurt its retail gaming industry.
According to a report from iGamingBuiness.com, Monday saw Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte place the entire nation under a series of quarantine restrictions that had earlier only applied to those living in 14 northern provinces. As a result, the country’s population of over 60.3 million people is now purportedly being advised to stay at home and avoid all but essential travel.
The highly-contagious coronavirus strain that originated in China is so far thought to have killed over 630 Italians with the now-ubiquitous isolation measures reportedly also encompassing a moratorium on public gatherings such as funerals and weddings alongside the indefinite postponement of matches from the nation’s top-flight Serie A soccer league.
According to the Tuesday report, the move has moreover resulted in the closure until April 3 of every one of Italy’s betting shops such as those operated by Playtech’s local SNAITech subordinate. This temporary shuttering additionally applies to bingo halls, theaters, amusement arcades, cinemas, gyms, pubs and nightclubs but has so far purportedly spared local restaurants, hotels and tobacconists, which often offer small selections of amusement with prizes (AWP) machines and sportsbetting kiosks.
However, the coronavirus shutdown could reportedly conversely prove to be a boon for the iGaming sector in Italy with software supplier GameAccount Network recently revealing that it had processed well over 306 million local wagers since the start of January, which represented an increase of some 8.4% year-on-year. The London-headquartered firm purportedly furthermore explained that this trend rose by 13.9% for the two weeks from February 23 as the looming possibility that the nation might face quarantine grew ever more likely.
Citing a report from H2 Gambling Capital, iGamingBusiness.com pronounced that global gaming revenues for 2020 could eventually decline by as much as 8% year-on-year. It detailed that the analyst had additionally forecast that a best-case scenario would still lead to a 1% diminution, which it purportedly declared would be some 4% below its pre-coronavirus annual prediction of approximately $475 billion.