An Italian gaming lawyer and specialist says he still has nightmares thinking about the “short-sighted” nature of the Dignity Decree.
The policy, brought in by Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, has outlawed all forms of gambling advertising and sponsorship.
However, Quirino Mancini, partner at Tonucci & Partners, believes the "stupid" policy sets a “dangerous precedent” for other European governments.
Mancini says the Dignity Decree was brought in to tackle problem gambling within the retail sector - but insists banning online gambling advertising has no effect whatsoever on slot machine players.
Speaking at an industry event, Mancini explained: “The Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Di Maio, came up with this proposition to get the gambling threat out because he kept talking about very desperate people that go to the nearby slot outlet every day.
“The beauty is this will continue as usual. The ban hits the pure online operators because it prohibits any type of gambling advertising. But, when it comes to retail, you can continue to have your nice sign outside the door and those desperate guys can still come in and gamble at the slot machines.
“I still have nightmares when I wake up in the middle of the night, thinking about how stupid, short-sighted and biased this policy was, and how dangerous the precedent it sets – that could spread out across Europe – is.”
Mancini also feels the underlying motivation behind the Dignity Decree is politicised, rather than aiming to genuinely tackle problem gambling.
He said: “This is the paradox. An excess of regulations are coming from politicians who know nothing about the business. They are just trying to achieve something for their constituents, with the message: ‘I said I would do something and I did it.’”