Italy bans TV, radio and online gambling promotion ads.
For years, problem gambling has been a major issue in countries all over the world. Each jurisdiction has seen fit to address the matter in its own way. This month, Italy is taking extreme measures to resolve the problem and reduce addiction.
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By a narrow vote of 155-125, the Italian Parliament last week passed the ‘Dignity Decree‘, which includes the enforcement of a comprehensive ban on gambling advertisements. Next year, absolutely no gambling ads will be permitted, outside of promoting the Italian Lottery.
No TV, Radio or Online Gambling Promotion Ads
The Italian gambling ad ban will encompass all forms of advertisement of gambling products on any Italian-owned TV, radio or internet network. The ban also applies to billboard and banner signage. No longer will stadiums or sporting clubs be able to promote a sponsorship from any gambling-related brand.
The only advertisements that will be acceptable are those promoting the national lottery. Ads for the lottery will continue to air on TV, radio, and via internet channels, and may appear on billboards as Italian lottery regulators see fit.
The ban on gambling advertisements will not come into effect until January 1, 2019. For any licensed operator with contractual obligations to promote gambling products, the ban will be enforced as of June 30, 2019. This gives them almost a year to determine how to sever those contracts in a mutually agreeable fashion.
Rationalizing the Solution to Problem Gambling
The movement to solve the European state’s rate of gambling addiction has been spearheaded by Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio. He launched a campaign to reduce problem gambling in June, tasking Parliament with the job of finding a solution that’s good for the people, regardless of what wealthy gambling companies had to say.
Those gambling companies lobbied heavily against the plan, but to no avail; as per PM Di Maio’s demands. Mobile casino giant LeoVegas went so far as to complain directly to the European Union. Such a ban will only benefit operators without an Italian license, was their argument. That fell on deaf ears.
Operators will leave Italy to serve other markets, say stakeholders who oppose the plan. Again, Parliament disregards the claims. It’s clear their determination and priority to serve the betterment of the people of Italy is the only concern.
Why should the lottery remain active in national advertisements? Parliament has a swift answer for that one, too. As with most national lotteries, proceeds from the state-run enterprise benefit local communities, re-investing in health, education and other important projects.
Protecting Society’s Most Vulnerable
The cold hard fact is that, through TV, radio and online, gambling promotion ads reach society’s most vulnerable; children, seniors, low-income families and those who already suffer from gambling addiction.
It’s no secret that gambling companies spend exorbitant amounts of money on the industrial world’s most aggressive advertising campaigns. Such campaigns specifically intend to reaching anyone and everyone—including those most vulnerable groups.
Essentially, Italy—unlike so many other governments—is refusing to cater to big business. Instead of focusing on money, and how to make more of it, they are promoting anti-gambling advertisement laws that benefit the people through proactive player protections.
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