The foundations of the new concession system. Market forecasts: 2013-2016

The new store model, which, thanks to regulatory provisions (Decree Law No. 16/12 converted with amendments and additions to Law No. 44/12) fully implemented in the call for tender published in the Official Gazette no. 88 of July 30, 2012 Special Series, will be able to commercialize all types of land based gaming on horseback and sports basis, is to constitute the cornerstone of the new concession system, the one that will characterize the market after 2016.

On June 30, 2016 all the concessions will expire (the concessions c.d. Bersani, the concessions c.d. Bersani adequate to the community and the concessions c.d. Giorgetti) assigned by the Administration since 2006, except for the c.d. Community, ie those that allow the marketing of public online games. The next three years are therefore the keystone for the survival and continuity of the concession system, under threat due to biased judicial-communication battles, to which even the Court of Cassation (finally) with recent rulings is trying to remedy indicating, with glimmers of intelligence, what could be the solutions. But what are the market numbers today?

According to data published on the Administration website in relation to the sports game collection for June 2012, growth compared to June 2011 was just under 100 million euros, or 58.23 percent. The negative sign remains for total funding for the half-year, with a decrease of 4.37%. Also in June, the pay out was higher than the previous average value. 87.83 percent of the total amount of bets has been returned to winnings. Only for remote concessions, the payout was 90.57 percent; for physical ones of 86.49 percent. The average rate of the single tax was 3.54 percent. The decrease in the percentage payable to the Treasury was determined by a substantial increase in single bets that develop a low tax rate. The margin of the concessionaires amounted to € 20,568,359.60, compared to a total collection of € 260,579,400.50. The concessions for gambling ranged € 85,260,588.25, while the betting movement of the pre Bersani network dealers (those of 2000, now expired) was € 55,960,018.75; that of public gaming concessionaires (post Bersani network) reached 119,358,793.50 euros. Worthy of note is the inclusion in the palimpsest of new types of betting on football and the proposal of many events in live mode, especially on tennis and volleyball. For online gaming, in June 2012, according to data published on the Administration website, the total expenditure (finally this data is reported, that if used correctly by the Media, would give less string to useless invective of storytellers and politicians) for distance gaming was almost 52 million euro, for a collection of over 1.15 billion euro. The value of the collection, with the introduction of games that by their nature have a very high payout, higher than 97% (card games and games of chance with fixed odds), is not comparable with that of the months prior to August 2011. The introduction of new games very popular abroad, in mid-July 2011, allowed to bring back many Italian players who played on illegal sites in the legal and controlled environment. Consequently, in June 2012, total expenditure continued its growth trend, marking a + 29.6% compared to the same month of the previous year. Considering skill games in conjunction with new card games and lots, in June, spending increased by 52.1% compared to 2011 (when only games of skill were available).

In general, as we have already seen, the orientation of public preferences is confirmed on the two most popular categories (skill games, now accompanied by card games and fixed-odds, and sports betting), which together represent, in the first five months of 2012, as much as 89.8% of gambling spending at distance (adding Bingo to 96.7%) and better suited to "online" use. For the remaining categories, the habit of "physical" use continues to prevail.

The cinderellas of the games, which in the past have been the queens of the entire sector, are still betting horse races, still in deep red. According to the news reported by a well-known press agency in the sector, in the last month of July, the betting movement relating to the scheduled races in the Italian racetracks (20 of trot and 9 of gallop) and to the foreign races included in the national schedule, was of 84.3 million euros, with a loss of -17.92% compared to July 2011, when the collection was over 102 million euros.

The numbers of the sector therefore, apart from the horse racing bets, are important, such as to justify the public interest in its structural stability and not, as many would wish for a mere interest in taking public opinion, to "hunt for "witches. The tools are there, and proof of this is the growing competence demonstrated by the Administration, also in interpreting some choices that are not always happy with the Legislature, but in the coming three years there is a lot to do. It is about getting to the Big Bang (30 June 2016) prepared and ready for the new system.

And so work on new products, to fight the black market, inviting the industry to make it work closely and the alternative schedule that the dealers will be able to offer, and then virtual bets. Identify the new rules also for the points of promotion of the public game; after the directorial decree of March 21, 2006, retired last year (July 2011), there is in fact a vacatio that as usual constitutes fertile ground for phenomena at the limit of legality to the detriment of honest operators. And again, the terrestrial network is reformed, in the sense that the Bersani stores and Giorgetti stores, these above all, can offer all the land-based public games, without any distinction between sports base and horse-race base, and perhaps even widening the portfolio to distribution of the games collected by the monoconcessionaries. Three intense years, which begin in the midst of a crisis that involves the entire Italian system, in which, in our opinion and whatever the above-mentioned storytellers say, that of public games has been able to develop its antibodies.
But periods of crisis, history teaches us, are those that offer more chances to start again.

The article was published in the biweekly newspaper "TS"