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Gambling Advertising Ban Published in Italy’s Official Gazette

Italy’s highly controversial Dignity Decree, which among other things contains provisions for a blanket ban on all forms of gambling advertising, was published on Saturday in the country’s Official Gazette after its successful passage in the government.

First mention of the potential implementation of a gambling advertising ban emerged this spring when Italy’s now Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio said that combating social issues related to and caused by gambling would be one of his main goals if his Five Star Movement party won the country’s general election.

The Dignity Decree was introduced in Italy’s legislature in late May and passed all legislative hurdles over the next two months to eventually come into force. The piece of legislation also includes a number non-gambling-related provisions. The gambling-related matters in the decree are mostly concerned with advertising, the distribution of slot machines around the country, and measures for reducing gambling addiction among Italian consumers of both land-based and online gambling products.

Generally speaking, the Dignity Decree prohibits all forms of gambling advertising across all existing channels, including television and the Internet. The measure has been promoted as one that would limit the exposure of vulnerable people and children to gambling.

The ban was met with staunch opposition by the industry, with multiple regulated operators arguing that its implementation would nix an important advantage they had over unlicensed gambling companies. Under Italian law, only holders of licenses from the local gambling regulator were able to advertise across local media outlets prior to the implementation of the Dignity Decree.

According to industry stakeholders, the new regime would not help Italy reduce the number of gambling addicts and people with problem gambling behavior, but would rather have a counterproductive effect that would result in the growth of the black market.

Paddy Power Betfair Flags Potential Departure

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair said earlier this week that it was reviewing its Italian operation and that a potential exit was under consideration due to the looming gambling advertising ban.

The company entered the Italian online gambling market in 2012 with the Paddy Power brand. It has struggled making its local business a truly profitable one since then. It pulled the Paddy Power brand last October to replace it with its Betfair one. To promote its Italian operation, the company signed up as a sponsor of Juventus last summer. However, now as the Dignity Decree is a law, that deal as well as all other similar sponsorships involving Italian football clubs and gambling companies will likely fall foul.

Paddy Power Betfair said earlier this week that it is extremely difficult to grow in a market where advertising is banned and that an exit from Italy or an acquisition that would secure the company’s profitability in that market are under consideration.

The post Gambling Advertising Ban Published in Italy’s Official Gazette appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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