The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has warned that illegal gambling will increase if Italy moves forwards with new laws to ban any gambling-related advertising.
Maarten Haijer, Secretary General, European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) said: “One of the important benefits of gambling advertising is that it directs Italian customers towards those gambling operators who are licensed to operate and comply with the rules in Italy. Without advertising black market gambling will increase – with customers accessing websites which are not licensed in Italy and operate outside the regulated framework, including the legal protective safeguards for consumers. No other country in Europe currently bans gambling advertising precisely for this very reason.”
“A ban on advertising will badly affect Italian sports. Each year gambling operators contribute about €120m to sponsor sports teams and leagues in Italy, including several teams in Serie A. This sponsorship is important to these teams and will be put in jeopardy. That is why we have already seen a strong reaction from the Serie A to the proposal,” he added.
“We would also question the practicality of introducing a total ban on advertising as a result of the cross-border nature of the internet and television. Italian citizens will continue to see gambling advertising, except that those ads will advertise websites that are not licensed in Italy.”
In conclusion Mr. Haijer said: “We strongly support measures to clamp down on irresponsible gambling advertising in order to protect consumers – but a total ban on advertising is counterproductive to this. The Government should instead focus on encouraging responsible gambling advertising which sufficiently directs consumers to the regulated operators and at the same time does not entice problem gamblers or young people to gamble.”