Published
Legal & Regulatory

Italy approves ban on gambling advertising

Italy’s Council of Ministers has approved a blanket ban on gambling advertising to start 1 January 2019, although companies with existing advertising agreements have been given more time to comply with their contracts.

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Italy’s state-run national lottery and its products are exempt from the ban. It will be enforced on other gambling products and service advertised on TV, the internet and radio, however. It will also stop sports clubs from advertising gambling sponsors.

Italy is the first European country to move toward a widespread ban on adverts, although the UK has been urged to curtail gambling advertising, particularly when it could affect children or young people during televised sports competitions. Belgium has also seen a pushing for stricter registration requirements to curb gambling by minors and vulnerable people.

Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio has been signalling his intent to bring in the ban for weeks under a so-called “Dignity Decree” aimed at reducing problem gambling in Italy. Di Maio’s Five-Star Movement, the largest party in Italy’s coalition government, has said it would lobby for gambling advertising restrictions across the EU.

LOGiCO, the Italian trade body that represents online operators, said it was “perplexed” by the law, however.

“LOGiCO does not believe that this ban can produce positive effects in terms of player protection or reduce, and certainly not eliminate, the risks deriving from an uncontrolled practice of the game itself,” the trade body said in a statement posted in Italian on its website and translated by Gambling Insider.

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