Online Poker Cash Games Come to Italy
After a delay of nearly three years Italian poker players are now finally able to play cash games online in addition to competing in poker tournaments.
The Italian government first moved to regulate online casinos and poker sites back in 2009, settling on a highly restrictive set of guidelines and regulations that restricted poker players to only competing in single and multi-table tournaments.
Restrictions also included a segregated player pool for just Italians with no international players allowed as well as a limit on the stakes available and a monitoring system to ensure that players stayed within reasonable gambling limits.
Cash games can be some of the most lucrative games for online sites (much like slots for online casinos) so it was inevitable that the Italian government would eventually allow online sites with a license to serve the Italian market to offer them.
It did surprise many that it took nearly 3 years for the first cash games to be deat to Italian players, which occured finally on Monday, July 18.
PokerStars, Ongame, and iPoker (the home of Titan Casino) are the first three sites to offer cash games for Italian players, with No Limit Hold'em, Limit Hold'em and Pot Limit Omaha currently up and running on all three, with the highest stakes currently offered being €1000 NLHE.
Online operators will be taxed at a rate of 20% of gross profits from cash games, which is a welcome change from more onerous taxation plans in other countries such as France that tax operators on gross revenues.
Italty is one of the larger online gambling markets in the world so it's likely more online sites will follow suit and begin offering cash games as well.
Poker continues to grow in popularity in countries such as Italy and Spain, where many residents gamble regularly on lotto, sports, and other casino games.