September 2, 2008 — Rome, Italy (AGI News) — In Italy, 11 percent of the population between the ages of 14 and 64 have tried their hand at online poker — which is about 4.3 million people. This is according to a report in today's AGI Italy Online Newspaper.
"The typical player is male, under 34 and resident in the South," states the website, which goes on to say that players tend to be based in cities with more than 30,000 population.
"Currently, there are 670,000 online poker players, but the legalisation of ability-based games on the internet, including poker, will rise to 1.7 million and will include people who say they have never played but that they might like to.
"The research shows that poker in general is a fast-growing mass consumer phenomenon. In Italy, numbers of frequent players (who say that they play regularly), have more than doubled, reaching 480 thousand in February 2007. The surge in players is due mostly to the spread and knowledge of poker, including on television, of poker as a sport, principally the Texas Hold'em form of the game.
"If, a year and a half ago there were 1.7 million Italians who knew of the U.S.-originated game, in June 2008 there were more than 5 million — a growth of 188%. Plus, if a million Italians regularly play poker, another 14.5 million (almost 37 percent of the population between 14 and 64) has played the game at least once.