30% reduction of Comma 6A gaming slots, with what effects?
The reduction by 30% of AWPs/Comma 6A gaming machines might not be a bad news for large operators in the Italian market.
The timing of reduction of Comma 6A machines might change
The Italian Stability Law 2016 had provided for the reduction by 30% of the AWPs/Comma6A gaming machines through a proportional dismissal of slots and their replacement with remotely controlled slots by means of a process that had to start from 1 January 2017.
Now, it is being reviewed by the Parliament a proposal that might speed up the reduction which might happen in two instalments by 31 December 2017 and by April 2018 with the number of AWPs that will pass from the current 345K to 265K.
This change might take place during the same period when the potential increase to 19% of the turnover for Comma 6A machines is being also reviewed by the Parliament in order to validate the decree from the Government.
Are you sure it is bad news for operators?
The goal of the Government through such reduction is not only to limit the potential gaming activity of Italian players, but it is mainly to reduce the distribution line of gaming machines. Indeed, Italy is a country where a number of small/medium companies operate as service providers in relation to Comma 6A machines, so creating a market that is more difficult to control.
A potential increase of the applicable taxation as well as a reduction of the gaming machines would definitely have the effect of cutting margins for intermediaries/service providers and granting the control of the market to just a few large operators.
There might be hard time for intermediaries/service provider, but I doubt that also small licensees and gaming halls manager might remain productive. This is creating an opportunity for large operators that might get additional market share, also through acquisitions and within the regulatory restrictions.
And such opportunity might find an additional route through the potential reassignment of rights held of Comma 6A and videolotteries held by B Plus/Global Starnet Limited. At the end of March 2017, the Italian gaming authority terminated their license, but as frequently happens in the Italian gaming sector, this is likely to lead to major court disputes. But if the termination of the gaming license is confirmed, it is likely that the gaming authority will launch a tender for the rights held by B Plus/Global Starnet Limited.
There are a number of question marks in the future of the Italian gaming machines market. What is your view? If you found this article interesting, please share it on your favourite social media!
WRITTEN BY GIULIO CORAGGIO
IT, gaming, privacy and commercial lawyer at the leading law firm DLA Piper. You can contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or via phone at +39 334 688 1147.