Italy’s media and communications agency, Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCOM), has issued a warning to both domestic and international media owners, as well as affiliate publishers that the gambling advertising rules in the Dignity Decree must be respected and obeyed. The warning comes after AGCOM issued a €750,000 ($743,000) fine to Google Ireland Ltd.
Google Ireland Ltd Wasn’t the Only Company That Was Fined by AGCOM
Google Ireland Ltd received the record-breaking fine after it promoted gambling-related content in its YouTube videos. However, it is not the only company that was caught by the wrath of AGCOM.
Top Ads Ltd, an affiliate marketing agency based in Malta, was also fined €700,000 ($694,000). The company created illicit content which promoted gambling promotions on SpikeSlot.com and according to reports, they were distributed to 5 YouTube channels.
AGCOM reminded companies that it is able to fine foreign owners thanks to the recent rulings by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which gives it authority to do so. It also noted that YouTube breached Dignity Decree’s Article 8.
According to Article 8, direct and indirect gambling ads are not allowed to be displayed to the Italian audience.
In the warning, AGCOM noted that this is the office’s first measure against a video hosting company and said that YouTube was found liable for not removing the illegal content that was distributed to its platform by a third party.
The Gambling Industry in Italy Is Set to Be Reformed, but the Process May Be Harder Than Anticipated
Back in March, authorities in Italy announced that the gambling industry will be reformed and the changes will take place in the next 12-18 months. The changes were confirmed by the Italian Ministry of Finance’s gambling sub-secretary and they were initiated to help the country recover from the pandemic.
However, after Mario Draghi, the Prime Minister of Italy, tried to resign in late July, the industry was dealt a huge blow. Draghi’s resignation was not accepted by Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, and thus, the political situation in the country became chaotic.
Back then, Draghi noted that there was no more national unity majority in the government and that is why many of the scheduled reforms might be delayed. This could cause major problems for gambling operators. The licenses of gambling operators in the country expire on December 31, 2022.
A small fraction of good news came to the country’s sportsbooks as their licenses were extended by the Customs and Monopolies Agency until June 30, 2024. Between June 30, 2022, and June 30, 2024, sportsbook operators will have to make two installments.
The first one will be on October 31, 2022, and the second will be on April 30, 2023. The same dates will apply for the second year of the license duration.