Italy Considers Introducing Online Gambling Advertising Ban

Italy Considers Introducing Online Gambling Advertising BanIf the Italian iPoker market was not already in the doldrums, matters could soon become even more drastic if the government decides to go ahead with an outright ban on all types of gambling advertising in the country. The proposed bill, which proposes a fine of up to €500,000 for those operators flaunting the law,  has been introduced in the Italian Senate, where it will now be discussed over the next few weeks.
Since regulation, Italy has pursued a similar path to Spain and France in separating its player pool from those of other countries. Considering the liquidity requirements of poker, this seemed to be an ill-conceived move, and one that has been borne out by the poor iPoker results coming from all three countries. Last year, for instance, Italian iPoker gross revenue plunged by 20%, mostly due to a contraction in cash game action.
Recently, however, Italy has introduced a number of reforms designed to boost its ailing online poker market, including more preferential tax laws for operators, and a debate n the possibility of sharing liquidity with other big European markets. The latest anti-gambling advertising bill currently being debated in the Senate could derail some of the progress already made, and as EGLA gambling lawyer Valérie Peano, explains:
“Should the bill pass as it is, the future of any form of commercial communications to promote the gambling services of a licensed operator in Italy would be heavily compromised and this would damage especially the igaming sector.”
If passed, the bill threatens to eliminate the ability of sites to differentiate their products from those of competitors through advertising, which ultimately will favor the fortunes of unlicensed operators. As a result, the proposed law is likely to face a backlash from iGaming operators seeking to protect their businesses, and commenting on the issue, Valérie Peano added:
“Hopefully, operators and relevant gambling associations will be ready to complain and push the EU Commission for an infringement procedure towards Italy for noncompliance with the EU legislation.”

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