Questionnaire on the Italian gambling advertising ban enquires the industry

A questionnaire on the scope of the Italian gambling advertising ban published by AgCom requests the industry to give its views urgently. 

The Italian gambling advertising ban and its contradictions

I had already covered in the past in several articles the provisions on the Italian gambling advertising ban and its contrast with EU principles and the Italian Constitution, also outlining how the provisions of the ban actually leave some flexibilities due to the unclarity of some of its provisions.

The main point is that it is not possible to prohibit any type of gambling advertising in a sector where operators hold a license issued by the Italian gambling authority which obliges them to offer their games. Especially in relation to remote gaming, a total ban of gambling advertising would result in preventing operators from running their business since they would not be in the position to make the public aware of their offering.

This is one of the reasons why the Italian gambling advertising ban has already been challenged before the European Commission and is likely to lead to Constitutional disputes.

The questionnaire on the Italian gambling advertising ban

Given the ambiguities of the provisions mentioned above, the AgCom, the Italian communications authority that is in charge of enforcing the ban, published a questionnaire addressed to any interested party on the Italian gambling advertising ban.

The scope of the questionnaire is extremely broad, and among others it covers

  • the distinction between advertising and sponsorship;
  • the definition of indirect advertising;
  • the concept of advertising contract;

and in general, the questions are aimed at getting feedback from the market on what are the most frequent practices and what activities, according to the operators, should be excluded from the ban. For instance, the questionnaire requests to provide details on the reasons why

  • the gambling press addressed only to operators of the sector should be excluded from the Italian gambling advertising ban;
  • the ban should also apply to ads of gaming suppliers and brick and mortar casinos; and
  • blogs and social media should be included/excluded from the ban.

The questionnaire is very tricky since it requires the disclosure of a number of information. Therefore it might be a relevant opportunity for the market, but risks to lead to a “boomerang effect“, if not properly exploited.

Unfortunately, there is no much time to decide on whether operators and media companies should participate in the consultation since the deadline for filings is the 20th of December 2018.

On the same topic, you can read the following articles “Italian gambling advertising ban in place and now?” and the “Italian gambling advertising ban (hidden) flexibilities can give you more time“.

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Giulio Coraggio

I am the location head of the Italian Intellectual Property & Technology department and the global co-head of the IoT and Gaming and Gambling groups at the world-leading law firm DLA Piper. IoT and artificial intelligence influencer and FinTech and blockchain expert, finding solutions to what's next for our client's success.
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