Italy Imposes Complete Ban on Gambling Advertising

Italy Imposes Complete Ban on Gambling Advertising May 1, 2019 May 1, 2019 Carolyn Dutton
 Industry May 1, 2019 by Carolyn Dutton

Details of a gambling advertising ban in Italy have been released by the country’s advertising and communications regulator Autorita per le Garanzie nelle Communicazioni (AGCOM).

In July 2018, Italy’s Council of Ministers gave the green light on the regulator’s guidance on Dignity Decree, confirming an outright ban on all types of gambling advertising (direct and indirect), as well as sponsorship or promotional communications.

The ban also includes product placement, distribution of branded products and other commercial communications. All forms of traditional advertising will also be prohibited, alongside influencer marketing and advertorials. The move is part of Italy’s efforts to minimize problem gambling rates and enhance the protection of players in the country, especially those within the vulnerable groups, including minors, the elderly, and gambling addicts.

Italy’s strong stance against gambling addiction also includes a series of tax increases for the industry, with a 25% tax being imposed on online casino and bingo operators; 24% on online sports betting firms; and 22% on land-based sports betting operators. As a result, Italy’s gambling sector recorded a drop in revenue over the past two months. Gambling revenue for March suffered a 3.7% decline to €140.2 million.

Exceptions To The Rule

Under the guideline, AGCOM emphasized that informative communications are not part of the ban. This means operators are still allowed to publicly post winning and sporting odds, bet sizes, available bonuses, as well as jackpots through local media sites.

Retails operators will also be permitted to put up their branding on shop fronts and signage. Displaying products and in-store offers will also not be prohibited as long as they do not contain persuasions to engage in gambling.

B2B commercial communications will not be part of the scope of the decree, including those that relate to corporate social responsibility, as well as communications circulated in specialist trade magazines. In the absence of branding and logos, operators are permitted to run responsible gambling campaigns and provide information on gambling products allowed by law.

Campaigns that promote social activities or charitable projects sponsored by gambling companies will not be prohibited, provided they do not display the operators’ logo and brand.

Crackdown Continues

AGCOM is also planning to put in place restrictions on the number of times operators appear on web searches. Licensees will not be allowed to hire or pay for third-party services in order to boost their search rankings. A gambling firm’s website will only appear if a player specifically makes a search on gambling.

The advertising ban has been up and running since the start of this year. Italy are not the only ones looking at this issue with Sweden also setting new standards. However, the prohibition regarding sports sponsorship as well as the ban on logo appearances will take effect from July 14 so that ongoing deals can come to a conclusion.

Carolyn is our legislation expert, with a background in law she is able to cover the current state of gambling around the world