Italy Gives Final Approval to Outlaw Gambling Advertising

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The Italian parliament has given final approval to the proposal to prohibit all gambling-related advertising starting from next year.

This means advertising gambling products on television, radio and the internet will soon be illegal. Also, gambling operators will no longer be allowed to provide sports sponsorship, with the state-run national lottery as an exemption.

The Italian parliament gave a green light to the proposal in a 155-125 vote on 7th August. The new legislation is a part of the Decreto Dignità (Dignity Decree), a series of measures taken in order to reduce bureaucracy for companies and prevent businesses that are supported by public funds from moving abroad.

The ban will come into effect on 1st January 2019. Companies already have contracts and agreements in place that will still be effective on this date will be allowed to fulfil them until 30th June 2019.

Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio claimed that gambling-related advertising contracts entered into “between the approval of the Dignity Decree in the Council of Ministers and its publication will not be valid.” Companies such as Betway, who signed a 3-year sponsorship agreement with Serie A club AS Roma last month, may be facing a problem.

To comply with the new legislation, Facebook and Google made changes to their policies last month. This nevertheless will push operators without licenses to the top of Google search engine results, which may encourage illegal and problem gambling.

The gambling advertising ban is likely to drive gambling operators overseas to reduce the negative impact on their business.