Playtech receives Italian approval to acquire Snaitech Luke Haward, CDC Gaming Reports · June 1, 2018 at 12:55 pm Playtech has announced that its acquisition of Italian operator Snaitech should be completed earlier than scheduled following the deal’s recent official approval from Italian authorities. Italian gaming regulator Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (AGM) signed off on a formal acceptance of the acquisition last week, and the huge €846 million deal is expected to be completed in June, possibly as early as June 5th. The move had previously been expected to take place towards the end of the final quarter of this year. Shares in Playtech traded up over 1% in the wake of the news. This followed a bump of around 6% in the wake of the initial announcement of the acquisition deal between the companies back in April. Snaitech’s outlook was even more raised, with a rise in share value of over 14%. Snaitech is a leading multichannel gaming firm listed on the Milan Stock Exchange under the handle Snai. They offer a wide range of gambling options, including sports and horse racing betting, video lottery, online and mobile gaming including poker, skill games, bingo and casino games, and esports wagering. They control over 60,000 New Slots and 10,000 Video Lottery terminals, and also own three racetracks, two in Milan and one in Tuscany. Playtech have had a tough time recently in some respects, reporting a slowing in full year growth in 2017 relative to previous years. The company stated that they had been hurt by recent events in Malaysia, where gambling syndicates have faced a recent crackdown. This has prompted a move into more clearly regulated regions, such as Italy. The initial acquisition is supposed to see Playtech taking on a stake of 70.6% in the firm, and the agreement includes a mandatory takeover of the remaining shares, which is likely to take place later this year. Shareholders held a general meeting on the matter on May 29th. Until recently it would have seemed that Italy was a very safe bet for any operator, given that it’s the second biggest gambling economy in Europe, but recent political events threaten to upset the apple cart. A recent leak of a government bill draft looks set to crack down on gambling terminals and slots, as well as imposing wider restrictions on gambling and related advertising in general. The politics are very much still in flux, however, with new elections a very real possibility in the near future. That said, Playtech may be feeling a little less secure about the exact strategy for their future plans in the region, given the current turbulence.