Ezugi made its mark on the fast-growing Italian online casino market last year when it launched its suite of live dealer games with LeoVegas, and it now has big plans to expand its presence in the country. 

Ahead of the firm’s participation in this week’s SBC Digital Italy conference and exhibition, its territory manager for Spain and Italy Rais Busom spoke to CasinoBeats about those plans and why he believes live casino games can match the popularity of slots. 

CasinoBeats: The regulated online casino sector in Italy grew by 46.5 per cent in 2020, while poker and bingo also saw huge growth. Was this simply a result of the enforced closure of retail venues or the sign of a long-term trend?

Rais Busom: In my opinion, the ban on advertising has hit sportsbook more than casino. In addition to that, the lockdowns have also concentrated the casino gaming offer, especially in live dealer, which is one of the fastest-growing segments.

CB: The Italian market has historically been somewhat sceptical of online casino; why has that changed? 

RB: Following on from my previous answer, there has been a cultural change that has popularised casinos. In Italy there are very few land-based casinos and in many areas there are none locally. Online brings this vertical closer to the Italian audience. 

The cross-selling and the possibility of switching to casino games in one click increases casino awareness and make this a normal choice. It has become enormously popular.

CB: How does the market for live dealer games look in Italy? Are they solely a product for online operators, or is there an opportunity within the retail betting and land-based casino sectors?

RB: We feel that live dealer is the game of the future for both online and retail, and even for land-based casinos, and Ezugi has a complete offer for all types of clients and partners.

CB: Which are the most popular live casino games with Italian customers and how do the player numbers compare with products such as online slots? 

RB: Roulette is always the main game for the live dealer vertical and it is also a great game for the acquisition of new players. 

For a long time, slots have been the most popular product in Italy, both in venues and online. But I’m sure live dealer can compete with them, because the audience is changing and millennials seek more entertainment. Live dealer is the game closest to TV entertainment shows and it’s at the beginning of the product curve, so there is a lot more to come.

CB: What does Ezugi have planned for the Italian market in 2021? 

RB: We are now live with LeoVegas, and are ADM certified for roulette, blackjack and punto e banco. 

At Ezugi, we want to develop the market with good products adapted to the Italian audience and with a top-quality service in the Italian language. We have very competitive solutions for retail, with very sophisticated mobile marketing tools, and we are passionate about helping our clients grow.

Ezugi is taking part in the SBC Digital Italy conference and exhibition on Wednesday 17 February. To find out more about the online event and register for free, visit the SBC Digital Italy website.