The new Italian Government has taken a decision to control the increasing spread of gambling within the country. They have implemented an advertising ban from July 14, 2018 for all gambling products, services that involve monetary transactions across all channels, and through all possible means. Betting and gambling providers have been restricted from putting up any sort of advertising on billboards or on publications within Italy.
This has been converted into Law number 96/2018 by the Parliament. Moreover, a ban on advertising or sponsorships in sports, cultural events were also imposed from January 1, 2019. The Dignity Decree gained support and approval by the Deputy Prime Minister's colleagues.
About dignity decree and gambling advertising
Alongside advertising, commercial interactions such as prize distributions, product placement, and influencer marketing are banned as well. The Dignity Decree published on August 11, 2018 had also mentioned that any sponsorship agreements concluded within Italy or other countries must be wrapped up by the July 14, 2019 post which no such agreements would be considered legal and would have serious consequences.
Analyzing this from the financial point of view, this law would severely affect the sports stakeholders and Italy would lose out on a revenue percentage while affecting the growth of sports in the country. The sports clubs would face a great deal of loss due to this implementation. Instant lottery tickets and machines would have to attach messages warning about the risks of gambling and age verification documents are compulsory to get access to these machines to prevent minors from using them. The aim behind this law and its counterparts is to reduce gambling addiction among minors, elders, and problem gamblers.
However, the retail operators can promote their brand names on hoardings and signage provided that they are not disobeying the law. Campaigns promoting responsible gambling and its benefits, legal gambling products and foreign bookmakers (example: https://nonaams.com/siti-scommesse-inglesi/) without disclosing brand names, charitable projects associated with an operator are exceptions to the Dignity Decree. Also, operators can communicate with the customers via multiple media sites providing knowledge and insight about gambling components like jackpots, paytable, odds of winning, sporting odds, bonuses available, minimum deposit amount, and so on as informative communication is not a part of the decree.
The ban was implemented alongside tax hikes for the gambling industry as well. Online casinos and bingos were taxed at 25% of gross gaming value or GGR, 24% hike for the land-based sports betting sites and virtual sports, 6.75% for the video lottery terminals, and amusement with prizes was hiked at 18.85%.
The shortfall of funds and betting sportsmanship
The impact of the Dignity Decree has been directly on sports, especially on Italian football, since most of the clubs in top-tier Serie A have sponsorships with betting companies. Football clubs are undergoing major losses due to missing out on all these sponsorships from jerseys to shoes, spikes bringing in competitive disadvantages to the Italian clubs and they have voiced their concerns regarding the same. The financial turnover has decreased a great deal and all advertising budgets are being shifted abroad.
The practicality of the ban is being questioned because no matter how many sponsorships are entertained, leagues from other countries held in Italy would still have advertisements regarding gambling. Also, Italians would still have access to the internet and television which are cross-border networks providing similar advertisements that are not licensed in Italy.
Eliminating sponsorships from the Italian Serie A would simply transform it into an ordinary league thus losing out on all its importance. The players tend to focus on other leagues due to their financial stability and thus, the value of football as a sport has been reduced.
In a nutshell
Banning advertising and sponsorships promoting gambling is not a solution to keep away problem gamblers. Since most of the gambling sites offer no deposit bonus trials, one can easily visit them for a practice session. Lawmakers should be able to implement the correct form of control for the issue that they want to address.
Also, they should be taking feedback and monitoring the pros and cons of the legal implementation around these measures. The protection of problem gamblers is a matter that consists of personal responsibility and adequate Government oversight too.