Italy’s Agcom sheds light on gambling advert restrictions

The Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (Agcom), Italy’s media and communications regulator, has reportedly formalised the details of the upcoming restrictions on the advertising of gambling products in the country.

Italian flag in the wind

Agcom has issued guidelines on the approaching advertising ban. © Pixabay.

Italian media group La Repubblica reported last week that Agcom has made progress on the finer details of the restrictions, which were announced in August 2018.

The government has not yet published the terms, but Agcom has issued guidelines to industry operators and stakeholders, with some good news. Agcom has confirmed that land-based operators will be allowed to advertise in their shop windows, with those displays exempt of the new law, as long as the signs do not include “advertising bait that promises amazing winnings”.

Agcom argues that the logos are designed for brand identity and not advertising. They hope that by allowing licensed operators to show their brand and identity, consumers will be protected from accidentally using unlicensed operators.

This is music to the ears of retail operators, who hope to claw back some share of the market from their online counterparts. However, it appears Agcom will enforce the government’s wish to prevent Italian online operators from appearing in Google search results. That is despite evidence that suggests such a move is counter productive – an initial run showed that unlicensed operators usurped or replaced licensed operators in the search results.

Agcom appears not to be complying with the policy of banning gambling firms from sponsoring sports teams and events though. The regulator pointed out that it would be almost impossible for broadcasters to blur out gambling firms’ logos in real time during broadcast.

Growth in the Italian gambling industry slowed in 2018 after the ban was announced. The latest figures show that turnover is up 3% but operators revenue fell by 2%.

The Dignity Decree is also facing a legal challenge. LeoVegas has filed a legal challenge with the European Commission against the ruling.

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