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While the affiliate space is focused on capturing new opportunities in newfound gaming lands such as the US and Latin America, it must not be forgotten that mature markets can still be money spinners for the industry. 

Italy is one of the world’s most mature gambling markets with a sophisticated player base and ingrained gambling culture. But while online gaming has long been in the consciousness of Italian players, there is still a significant opportunity for affiliates to succeed in 2024. 

Angelo Vecchione, website manager at Leadstar Media’s Italian brand Migliori Casino Italia, told CasinoBeats that to succeed in the nation, operators and affiliates must possess a deep understanding of player preferences and demands. 

Angelo Vecchione
Image: Leadstar Media

“Generally speaking, Italian players have a greater knowledge about the online casino market than users in other European countries, where the market came into full swing later,” Vecchione explained. “Often, this means that players are on the lookout for more technical and specific information.” 

Italian players need clear and updated content

So having established that Italy has more sophisticated and mature players than other areas of the world, it is Vecchione’s task to identify exactly what type of content players want and how best to deliver it. 

Identifying that Italian players desire more than just bonuses and promotions to convert readers into players, he explained: “It is therefore essential to present users with elements that reinforce their interest and knowledge. Following this perspective, we are helped by operators and software providers, who are constantly looking for innovative elements that can improve their products.

“We strive to create clear and constantly updated content, always focused on users’ needs. The demand for straightforward content has increased over the years, and that continues to be a trademark of Italian consumers.”

With an experienced and sophisticated player base, the opportunities for new customer deposits are few and far between. This, Vecchione explains, means that affiliates in Italy must focus on player retention more sharply, engaging with high-value players for much longer. 

“We employ targeted tactics to support our partners in retaining high-value players over a long period of time. A key element of this tactic is definitely the consistency and accuracy of the assessments and information we provide.”

Even though Leadstar possesses a plethora of knowledge of the Italian players’ demands and preferences, it is undeniable that there are still challenges in the market. Italian players are so knowledgeable precisely because of the sheer amount of information already readily available. 

The competition in the market is fierce, but if approached correctly, the nation can still offer a lucrative prize. 

“One of the major challenges is certainly the understanding of market competitiveness,” Vecchione outlined. “We are operating in a complex market in which competitors have developed high-quality products over the years. However, I believe there is always room for innovation and premium content that can be rewarded by users.”

Innovation can help beat competition

In such challenging market conditions in which there are so many affiliates vying for the same players, innovation is a surefire way to overcome this. Leadstar seeks to push its content to new levels to bring players the most engaging content in the market, but acknowledges that there are plenty of competitors driving the space forward too. 

The website manager remarked: “I believe that developing strategic partnerships with operators and offering distinctive products with a strong identity can attract new customers in an industry as competitive as the Italian one.

“Innovating in such a difficult market requires more and more creative ideas. Many of which relate to the quality and to how fast you present optimal content for the user.”

Another key challenge presented by operating in Italy is the uncertainty raised by evolving regulations in the country. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government is seeking to overhaul gambling regulation that could thwart what advertisers and marketers can do in Italy. 

In regulated markets, compliance is a number one priority and a space in which those affected must err on the side of caution. For Leadstar’s operations in Italy, under the shadow of these changing regulations, this means liaising closely with legal teams and experts to ensure that they are always compliant. 

Vecchione noted: “In response to legislative uncertainties, Leadstar Media is implementing a proactive strategy based on in-house legal expertise to ensure compliance with all current and future Italian regulations. 

“This approach allows us to adapt quickly to any legislative changes without significant interruptions in our operations.”

Despite these challenges, Leadstar is confident in its ability to continue to push forward in Italy, solidifying its position as a key affiliate in the country with strong partnerships with the largest operators.

The firm is eyeing up new products to improve its output to attract new customers to its platform, with Vecchione hinting at big plans for the future.
He concluded: “We have a strong commitment to the Italian market, and we will continue to do so for years to come. Leadstar Media has concentrated efforts to add several casino-focused products to our portfolio, and we launched a new website exclusively for Italy. MiglioriCasinoItalia.it is a very promising product with clear goals and directions heading into 2025.”