Winamax to Bid for Italian Online Gambling License

French online poker operator Winamax is expected to be among the iGaming brands to bid for an Italian license, according Italian gambling news outlet AGIMEG.

A call for bids is yet to be launched by the Agenzia delle dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM), the authority charged with issuing iGaming licenses. Although information about the exact timeframe during which interested operators will be able apply for a license is skim, it has been announced that there will be 120 licenses up for grabs.

Online gambling companies will have to pay a license fee of €200,000 in order to be considered for one of the iGaming operations spots opened by the regulator. According to Italy’s online gaming head Daria Petralia, the ADM is expected to collect around €24 million from fees.

Winamax is the leading online poker operator in France, particularly in terms of cash games activity. At the time this article is being produced, there are 1,001 cash game players playing on the operator’s website, compared to 629 players on PokerStars’ .fr website.

Although it has limited its business to French players up to now, the popular brand hinted early in 2017 at certain expansion plans. Winamax revealed on its LinkedIn page that it was looking for Italian-, Spanish-, Portuguese-, and English-speaking staff.

The move raised questions about the operator’s future plans and indicated that the it was probably ready to extend its footprint beyond its homeland and to enter some of Europe’s largest regulated markets, with those being Spain, Italy, and the UK. As for Portugal, it was only last year when the country admitted first online gaming operators. However, the still immature market is believed to be one of great potential and this is why there is no wonder why Winamax has set eyes on it.

Here it is also important to note that Winamax’s decision to enter those particular countries may not be based solely on their status of some of Europe’s biggest regulated jurisdictions. As reported by Casino News Daily on numerous occasions, gambling regulators from these countries are in a process of negotiating shared online poker liquidity agreements, a process that seems to be entering its final stages. According to recent reports, the first shared liquidity network will be operational by the end of the year or early in 2018.

Winamax looking to expand into other ring-fenced online poker markets can easily be interpreted as part of a plan for the operator to participate in the shared liquidity effort. Being one of the almost certain bidders for an Italian license, it is yet to be seen when and whether it will enter Spain and Portugal.

According to AGIMEG, Marathonbet and Pinnacle will also be among those to enter competition for an Italian license.

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