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Italy’s victory at the European Championship is an opportunity for gambling operators

The Italian gambling advertising rules provide an exemption regarding institutional communications

Exemptions to the gambling advertising ban represent an opportunity for operators to celebrate the victory of Italy through its values.

Italians poured into streets and squares in massive numbers on Sunday, July 11, 2021, celebrating a success unexpected to many commentators, as the national football team beat England during the final of the Euro 2020, becoming European champion.

Many emphasized the values of the group of players behind this victory. We had, among others,

  • our captain, Giorgio Chiellini, that at the age of 36, had never won a European Cup with his team, despite several attempts, but was able to compete at the same level as players 10+ years younger than him;
  • our left-back, Leonardo Spinazzola, who broke his Achilles tendon when he was considered the best player in the European championship; and
  • our coach, Roberto Mancini, that had been a controversial player during his career but was able to join all the members of the team for a common intent, and his former teammate, Gianluca Vialli, who was one of the best strikers of the Italian soccer team and had just recovered from a terrible disease.

As it happens for the most important sports events, gambling operators would like to celebrate the victory of Italy with their customers base, emphasizing the values of sports. But in Italy, gambling-related communications shall be drafted in light of the gambling advertising ban.

The rules on Italian gambling advertising prohibit any advertisements relating to games with cash winnings. But, the Italian communications authority, AgCom, had issued guidelines to clarify its scope, excluding from its applicability, among others, informative communications as well as social responsibility communications, under specific circumstances.

Should gambling operators decide to arrange communications related to the EURO 2020 victory, they shall:

  1. refer to the company name of the operator, without showing its trademark;
  2. emphasize the values behind the victory, without any call-to-action;
  3. avoid graphics typical of promotional communications;
  4. display images that under no circumstances are associated with the betting; and
  5. mention potential bonuses in a merely informative manner, and during a period of time that is no longer than 1 month from the victory when the attention on the event is still high.

As to the last point, the offering of a bonus per se does not trigger a promotion, provided that the claim merely describes the features of the bonus campaign.

The breach of the gambling advertising ban is sanctioned with fines up to 20% of the value of the sponsorship or advertisement, and, in any case, with an amount of at least € 50,000. Besides, the above-mentioned campaign shall consider the broader regime of rules applicable to this kind of communication, such as those about ambush marketing.

On the same topic, you might find interesting the article “Top 3 best practices to handle the Italian gambling advertising ban “.

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Vincenzo Giuffré

Lawyer at DLA Piper IPT Italy, Milan| Gambling and Gaming Sector| eSports, Media, Sports and Entertainment | Bocconi University | University of Minnesota - W. Mondale Law School | Visiting Student at National University of Singapore (NUS)

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