Italy Regulation Applications UnderwhelmPublished October 19, 2018 by Lee R
Free-acting operators need to maintain decorum as the Italian licencing process plays out.
Italian regulation has fallen short in the licensing period.
One Third Down
Italy gaming regulator Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM) reported applications for 80 iGaming licences, a figure which falls a full 40 short of the government’s expectations for this year’s application process, with issued licenses to be valid through December 31, 2022.
Ad Ban Discourages
Initially launched in January, new decrees against gambling-related advertising and promotion slowed the application process down.
The Dignity Decree
The so-called Dignity Decree called operators to pay a one-time application fee of €200,000 (£175,000, $231,000) to process their by a March 20 deadline, ultimately resulting in 70 companies applying for 80 licences.
Prognostication of Disenchantment
A spokesman for local gambling affiliate Casino2k prognosticated to iGamingBusiness.com that he believes the application totals would not even have topped 10 had all operators been aware of the impending advertising ban, which is set to take effect on January 1st.
“No one would spend money for a product that cannot be promoted to potential customers,” the spokesman added.
Source of Concern
The source of concern regarding the move as expressed by the spokesman was that these types of dramatic and sudden changes to regulation would discourage individual companies investing larger amounts into a market that could be seen as “fragile,” millions of Euros in a fragile market, predicting that the status quo could lead to shut downs in operations, a disappearance of legal online gambling and reversion to the non-regulated market of the early 2000s.
The spokesman summarized his comments by saying:
“The Italian government is underestimating the economic and social impact of this advertising ban; operators are just a small percentage of people and money involved in the Italian gambling industry.”
Other critics of the ban included online gaming trade association LOGiCO and the European Gaming and Betting Association. Leading private operator LeoVegas encouraged the government to reverse the ruling as well.
Sides of the Argument
The stakeholders as critics makes sense in this case, because they are the ones who want to market in the country and benefit from their promotions.
The Italian government is imposing it's own brand of morality on the process out of concern for its citizens and youth, as a measure which most governments are trying to take in some form as regulated gambling spreads through jurisdictions particularly in Europe.
It seems operators and trade associations would do well to temper their criticism so that they do not appear too eager to promote an activity that is fun for some but dangerous for others.