Are Stakeholders Crying Wolf at Italy´s Gambling Ads Ban?

ItalyThe passage of Italy´s gambling ads ban yesterday was widely anticipated, yet many in the gambling industry are claiming it was a Black Day for regulated gambling and that only unlicensed operators will profit from the move. Are their claims justified or do they have an ulterior motive for kicking up such a fuss?

Yesterday, the Italian Senate approved the “Dignity Decree” – a wide-ranging bill that attempts to addresses issues with temporary work contracts, compensation for unfair dismissal, businesses moving overseas, and problem gambling. The bill had previously been passed by the country´s Council of Ministers at the start of July, before being approved by the Chamber of Deputies earlier this month.

The way in which the Dignity Decree aims to address problem gambling is by banning all forms of gambling advertising on all Italian media outlets. The ban includes brand exposure for any company providing gambling services at sporting, cultural or artistic events, and will severely hurt soccer teams in Italy´s Serie A – half of whom have shirt sponsorship deals in place with gambling operators.

How Bad is Problem Gambling in Italy?

Many different sources place Italy in the top five gambling nations in the world, and since the regulation of online gambling in Italy, recorded turnover has increased almost threefold. It has been estimated that more than 1 million people of the country´s citizens (of 60 million) has a gambling problem or display signs of problem gambling behaviour.

The author of the “Dignity Decree” – Italian Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Economic Development, Labor, and Social Policies, Luigi Di Maio – believes that the aggressive promotion of gambling services is causing people to gamble excessively, and that a gambling ads ban will reduce the exposure of gambling services to vulnerable people with a problem.

Seems Reasonable. So Who´s Kicking Off?

Just about everybody who is going to suffer financially is kicking off about the gambling ads ban. But, rather than complain about suffering financially, some in the gambling industry – typically online gambling affiliates who are going to have to refrain from promoting their affiliate partners – are raising concerns the ban will result in unlicensed operators getting a foothold in Italy´s gambling industry.

Who goes searching for online gambling ads? People who are unhappy with the service they are receiving from their current operator. So, rather than complain about unlicensed operators getting a foothold in the market, maybe it would be a sensible idea for licensed operators to step up their game and make their products so attractive that their customers do not go searching for online gambling ads.

Bill Likely to Delay Italy Joining Shared Liquidity Poker Market

Although the decision for joining the pan-European shared liquidity poker market is in the hands of Italy´s gambling regulators, rather than the country´s politicians, the gambling ads ban will likely delay the entry of Italy into the shared liquidity poker market of France, Spain and Portugal – a move that many of Italy´s licensed operators are opposed to anyway.

Only PokerStars would stand to gain from Italy joining the shared liquidity market; and, as smaller operators would be unable to compete with the world´s largest online poker site, many would go out of business. However, rather than complain about suffering financially, these operators are claiming that shared liquidity will result in unlicensed operators gaining a foothold in the market.

So, there does seem to be a common theme every time something perceived to be negative happens in the Italian gambling industry or is threatened to happen – cry wolf. Most people will be glad to see the back of gambling ads, and if the threat of unlicensed operators makes licensed operators step up their game, that can only be a good thing. So good, in fact, it might even be worth moving to Italy!

 

One Response to “Are Stakeholders Crying Wolf at Italy´s Gambling Ads Ban?”

  1. David Lyons says:

    “Who goes searching for online gambling ads? People who are unhappy with the service they are receiving from their current operator.”

    This is nonsense… that’s not how advertising work and you know it.

Leave a Reply