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New regulation affecting gaming advertisement in Italy

21 September 2012
A new controversial regulation regarding gaming and gambling advertising in Italy has been introduced in the recent Law Decree no. 158 of 13 September 2012 ("Decree") and shall affect both the off-line and online gaming industry.

The Decree contains, among others, a general provision which prohibits gambling advertisement - through TV, radio, theatres or cinemas - which is primarily addressed to "young people" (the Decree does not specify if this includes only minors). Furthermore, gambling advertising shall also be prohibited (regardless to the audience to which it is addressed) on the press, TV, radio, cinemas and theatres and on the Internet if the advertising:

  • incites gambling games or promotes their performance; or
  • contains the presence of minors; or
  • does not contain warnings on the risk of compulsive gambling and specific notices regarding the pay-outs as published by the gaming regulator.

In case of breach of such provisions, penalties ranging from a minimum of €100,000 to a maximum of €500,000 may be applied both to the gambling advertiser and to the media company transmitting the advertisement.

The original draft of the regulation contained a stricter and general prohibition to advertise gambling. Even though the final draft of the Decree leaves some room to advertisement in this area, it poses a number of issues: the wording used by the Italian legislator is very broad and certainly requires some clarifications by the Italian gaming regulator (Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato – AAMS). For instance, it is not clear how a gambling advertisement cannot "incite gambling games or promote their performance".

The Decree will enter into force on 1 January 2013, provided that by 13 November 2012 it is implemented by an ordinary law approved by the Parliament. Therefore, it is possible that certain provisions may be amended by the Parliament in the meantime.

Thomas Micarelli

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