15 Jan Serie A gambling sponsorship temporarily exempted from Italian advertising ban
Sponsorship agreements of Serie A teams by gambling operators are exempted from the applicability of the Italian gambling advertising ban for an interim period.
The opinion of AgCom on gambling sponsorship of Serie A teams
I am a sort of proud that the position taken by me a few months ago (See “Italian gambling advertising ban (hidden) flexibilities can give you more time“) on the scope of the Italian gambling advertising ban has now been confirmed by the Italian Communications Authority (AgCom).
AgCom was requested by the Serie A Football League to clarify whether, under the terms of the Italian gambling advertising ban, ongoing sponsorship agreements entered by Serie A team with gambling operators had to stop on the 31st of December 2018 or since they had been entered before July 2018, they could enjoy the exemption granted to “advertising contracts” up to July 2019.
The position of AgCom was that – despite the express reference in the law to the obligation to terminate sponsorships by the end of 2018 – if they were entered before 14 July 2018, they could fall under the category of advertising contracts that could continue up to the 14th of July 2019.
Is the exemption from the Italian gambling advertising ban only relating to Serie A sponsorship agreements?
In my view, the exemption does not apply only to sponsorship agreements entered by Serie A football teams with gambling operators. But can be extented to any agreement which can fall under the category of advertising contracts, such as affiliation agreements and even prize competitions.
AgCom expressly referred only to Serie A gambling sponsorship agreements since the request of clarifications came from the Serie A League.
Also, it is important to remember that there is an ongoing consultation run by AgCom on the actual scope of the Italian gambling advertising ban (See “Questionnaire on the Italian gambling advertising ban enquires the industry“) which might lead to the issue of guidelines on the matter that could provide additional exemptions. Indeed, we participated to the consultation on behalf of a number of operators and there are discussions in place with the authority on the topic, with the additional uncertainty given by the outcome of legal disputes on the ban (See “Italian gambling advertising ban in place and now?“).
The following months will be extremely busy. The goal is to find a sustainable compromize on the matter, but the current regime already grants some flexibilities outlined in this article “Italian gambling advertising ban (hidden) flexibilities can give you more time“.
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