January 1st, 2019 will change the Italian gambling market forever. On that date a new ban on gambling advertisements will go into effect. Some Italian politicians have fought hard for the ban and are ecstatic that the Italian Council of Ministers has now approved it.
Proposal from the Five-Star movement
The new law is one of the measurements taken by the largest party in the Italian coalition government, the Five-Star movement. The anti-establishment party, also known as M5S, was chosen at the beginning of 2018. It has proposed a set of radical policies that must reform Italy, including the gambling market. The leader of the Five-Star movement is Luigi Di Maio. He is also the deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio who has officially authorized the new gambling law.
Ban on all gambling products
The advertisement ban applies to all products and services related to gambling. There will no longer be gambling advertisements on television, website and radio. Besides that, gambling companies can no longer be sponsors of sports clubs. The ban does not apply to the national lottery or any one of its products though.
Effect on sports clubs
The gambling restrictions will not only affect a lot of gambling companies, but sport clubs as well. They have to look for new sponsorship deals, now that the gambling industry is off-limits. About 50 percent of the clubs in the Italian football division works together with gambling companies. So the news is a big blow to the gambling industry.
Reaction from advertisers and gambling companies
Advertisers and gambling companies are obviously not happy with the news. LOGiCO, a company that works for online Italian operators, says it’s ‘perplexed’ by the news. It states that it does share the concerns about the dark side of gambling, such as addictions. However, it does not believe that this ban in Italy will protect players enough or that it reduces the risks of problem gambling. It will certainly not eliminate the risks from uncontrolled practice of casino games, LOGiCO says.
LOGiCO is not the only company that is shocked. Many complain that they still have contracts
stretching into 2019. To meet the demands of the gambling companies, the government has granted a concession. The so-called ‘Dignity Decree’ is part of Article 8 and gives gambling companies enough time to prepare themselves for the new law. It means that the advertisers are able to fulfil their contracts before the ban comes into place.
Open letter from LeoVegas
LeoVegas is a well-known casino in Italy. The managing director of the casino, Niklas Lindahl, recently wrote an open letter to Di Maio. He warned for the possible negative side effects of the ban. For example, a ban of gambling advertisements would drive people to the black market. The Deputy Prime Minister doesn’t believe him. What’s more, Di Maio is not just satisfied with the ban in Italy. He told the press that he will also lobby for gambling restrictions in the rest of Europe.