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Italy's Online Poker Market Getting More Competitive

Things are heating up in Mediterranean markets: Just days after learning that Gibraltar is adjusting its Internet gaming regulations comes news of increased competition in the Italian poker market.

Online poker players in Italy will soon have more options, with Caesars Interactive Entertainment (formerly Harrah’s) signing a contract for its subsidiary World Series of Poker (WSOP) to enter the newly regulated Italian market. This is in step with Caesars’ aggressive push to go international in a big way.

Italy had been a closed market available only to Italian companies until a May 2010 ruling by the European Union forcing it to open its online gambling markets to offshore operators. 

Now “a network of over 120 sites will be co-branded using the WSOP brand and will serve as the online hub for poker in the Italian market,” explained Chris Sieroty at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Playtech is also entering the Italian poker arena. Monday, the Internet gaming software developer announced a new deal to power Italian gaming operator Buongiorno’s Internet casino platform.

Per the Wall Street Journal, the new services will be launched “following the regulation of online casino gaming, expected in early 2011.”

Also in the Mediterranean, in Cyprus, where a government loophole has made for one of online gambling’s most bizarre situations, a plan to completely ban online poker and casino games has been stalled for three months because of EU regulatory requirements.