- Legal States
Angel Hristov December 8, 2022 3 min read
Italy May Lift Its Soccer Sponsorship Ban
Italy might reconsider its stance on gambling sponsorships in professional soccer. On January 1, 2019, the country banned all forms of gambling advertisements in accordance with the Decreto Dignità. However, Italy might now take a step back.
Italy Might Lift Its Ban on Sponsorships
Andrea Abodi, Italy’s minister for sport and youth, teased that the government might change its approach to gambling ads. According to him, the authorities are now eyeing the legalization of shirt ads in order to help sports leagues sustain themselves.
If Italy proceeds with the legalization of gambling sponsorships, this agreement would not only benefit sports leagues but operators as well. Shirt sponsorships are a secure way for gambling companies to market their products. Because of that, major local and global companies supported pro Italian teams before the introduction of the ban.
Operators are now cautiously optimistic about the future of the ban. Abodi’s statement that Italy might rethink its stance is a relief to many companies within the sector. However, even if the ban is lifted, sponsorships might come with certain restrictions. Some believe that Italy might allow retail brands to appear on athletes’ shirts but might still prohibit their online counterparts from being promoted in such a way.
Italy Has So Far Upheld Its Ban
Italy originally banned sponsorships in soccer as a way to protect customers in the country. The lawmakers believed that such promotions increase the risks of gambling harm among bettors. Italy had noticed that many notable online operators used beloved leagues such as Seria A to promote their products and thought that banning sponsorships might mitigate some of the gambling harm.
Italy tried to do an exception in 2021 when it proposed to temporarily allow clubs to promote gambling companies. The idea was to pause the ban until 2023 to provide sports leagues with a breather. This exception aimed to help the sector recover following the disastrous aftermath of COVID-19. Back then, the Italian soccer clubs had lost over $315 million because fans were not allowed to attend live games. Yet, despite the potential benefits, the proposal ended up getting rejected.
Abodi’s comments have brought Italy the closest it has been to lift the ban. However, it is still too early to say for sure whether that will happen.
In other Italy-related news, Lady Luck Games just entered the Italian market thanks to its agreement with the aggregation platform MicroGame. At the end of November, meanwhile, G4 certified NOVOMATIC in Italy and Spain.