Italy is home to a thriving, growing community of online gamblers. But the authorities have introduced strict laws to protect a small number of the vulnerable public from the possibility of becoming addicted to gambling.
We interviewed Yohan Leon, the Chief Marketing Officer at www.giochidislots.com, to get his thoughts on the future of online casinos in Italy following the COVD-19 pandemic. Here is how the interview unfolded.
As online casino regulations in Italy get even tighter, how do you think this will affect the business and your customers?
The new, stricter rules that apply to online casinos in Italy are burdensome for online platforms because they can no longer use advertising to attract new customers to their sites in the same way.
Legitimate sites have had to change their advertising and marketing tacks, and they are now using affiliates and casino comparison sites more to their advantage.
The new regulations have compelled online casinos to adhere to the much-needed alternative ways of advertising, doing away the traditional method of advertising, which are now banned. This new form of advertising is also advantageous for online gamblers. They can now easily compare online casinos, the bonuses they offer, and their terms and conditions with consummate ease, allowing them to make better, more informed decisions.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the Italian gaming sector, and what approach are operators now taking regarding responsible gambling at online casinos?
The stay-at-home restrictions and closure of conventional gambling establishments brought about by the pandemic meant more people turned to the internet and discovered the availability of online casinos. It increased the appeal of online gambling as a distraction from everyday boredom. But this also worried the Italian authorities. They were concerned that more people might become addicted to gambling over the internet, so new rules were introduced.
The only way that online casinos can now increase awareness of their services is if their message carries warnings about gambling addiction and encourage responsible gambling. The other substantial change was that only online casinos with an ADM gambling license are now qualified to operate legally in Italy.
Online casinos that have taken or are taking the step to become licensed and regulated by the Agenzia Dogane Monopoli (ADM) are well-positioned to retain and grow their market share in the Italian online gambling scene. Securing an ADM license is witness to their acceptance of their responsibilities toward the welfare of their customers.
What do you think the future has in store for online casinos in Italy after COVID-19 subsides, and what lesson do you think the industry has learned to date?
The future for online gambling in Italy is strong, even though the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed things down a little as far as the whole online gambling scene is concerned.
The sports betting sector was most severely affected, but this was highly anticipated. Many high street establishments were closed and many sporting events were cancelled. However, affiliate sites offering demos of online casino games, whose core business is slots, have maintained good growth.
Now, we are climbing our way out of the pandemic (seasonal swings excepted), I think we will see an increase in online gambling across the board. But, because the industry has been forced through stricter rules and regulations to get its act together and put player well-being to the fore, the online gambling experience will be safer.
What effect do you think new innovative technologies like AI and 5G will have on the online casino industry as far as the customer experience and the types of games casinos offer are concerned?
Improved technology has benefitted the online gambling industry immensely, with the ability to gamble via a mobile device, whenever and wherever. The growth of Wi-Fi connectivity granting wireless internet access from more locations, the improvement of mobile software technology allowing games to be automatically mobile-friendly, and HD quality imagery have taken things to a whole new level.
As AI (Artificial Intelligence) is being increasingly deployed, gamblers can enjoy better, more personal, and more realistic gaming experiences.
On the live betting sports front, rapidly changing odds are made possible thanks to specifically programmed artificial intelligence models, making smart pivots a reality over hundreds of variables in real-time. AI is even being used to track player traits that could lead to future gambling addiction problems.
Then there is the ongoing rollout of 5G. It not only brings with it increased signal reliability, but it also makes downloads lightning-fast and speeds up the pace of games. It even makes it possible for gamblers to play several games at once.
Another important aspect of 5G is that it makes things harder for scammers and cyber-criminals to interfere with financial transactions and steal personal data.