Removing the Variables to Problem Gambling: Italy Bans Adverts Across the Board

Published August 17, 2018 by Lee R

Removing the Variables to Problem Gambling: Italy Bans Adverts Across the Board

The measure may seem harsh to operators, but they should be glad they should recognize the safety net that covers everybody in the end.

One of the more unchecked forms of threats to players has been eradicated completely in Italy.

Narrow Vote Ends Ads

The Italian Parliament voted last Tuesday to ban gambling advertising across the board by a narrow 155-125 vote, spelling the end of the appearance of any gambling products in advertisements across all Italy-owned or jurisdicted TV, radio and Internet channels.

Even more telling is that the ban will apply to sports sponsorships, meaning no more banners will appear at stadiums and on sporting club billboards and signs and the like.

Coming into effect January 1, with licensed operators currently holding contracts allowed to continue until June 30th.

The only form of chance that will remain allowed is the national lottery.

The Movement to Ban

The decision comes down as the product of movement spearheaded by Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, who is also head of the Populist 5 Star movement.

DI Maio launched the ban campaign with the “Dignity Decree” in June, calling the initiative “the first decree for decades that hasn’t been dictated by lobbies and vested interests. Finally ordinary people have scored a point.”

Large operators of course lobbied heavily against it for various reasons. In a formal complaint to the EU, LeoVegas argued vociferously but ultimately unsuccessfully that the move would only help unlicensed gambling operators.


Some stakeholders are concerned that operators in Italy will be driven to serve other jurisdictions, but the Italian government is unfazed by these possibilities, and has clearly prioritized the preventative nature of the measures.

While the lottery will continue to be advertised, the state-run enterprise is designed to reinvest proceeds into the community, as most national lotteries do. The extent and effectiveness to which the Italian government continues to reinvest those proceeds in the community is another matter for another day, because the fundamental principle behind the ban remains appropriate.

The Rationale

There are many vulnerable people whom advertising reaches, from children to problem gamblers. Further, gambling advertisers are known to be some of the most aggressive advertisers that exist.

Embrace Potential Benefits  

Aggressive advertising in general reaches everyone. However, when a vice is being advertised, the rest of society needs to be protected. The Italy government is merely removing the variables with the latest legislation, and that kind of proactive protection should prove beneficial not just for society, but for the industry itself. The less people are put at risk, the better it is for business.


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