Tech giant Google has moved to remove gambling-related content/services from being indexed on its Italian search results.
The US firm has updated its Italian advertising policies, preparing for the approved mandate of Italy’s new coalition government’s ‘Dignity Decree’, which implements a blanket ban on forms of gambling/betting marketing, promotions, advertising and sponsorships.
Updating stakeholders, Google details that as of 16 July ‘only state lotteries with deferred drawing will be allowed to run gambling advertisements in Italy.’
The Lega-5Star blanket ban is expected to come into full effect on 1 January 2019. However, a number of sporting clubs and media owners have been granted a ‘transition period until 30 June 2019’ to partially fulfil existing contracts signed before the decree was approved by the Italian assembly.
Italy’s coalition government has moved to implement, Europe’s toughest/strictest code of gambling advertising, with fines set at 5% of advertising/sponsorship value, with a minimum penalty requirement of €50,000 for each law breached by offending parties.
Lega-5Star’s mandate has been lambasted by all Italian gambling leaders, and the sector’s wider stakeholders (media owners, football firms, affiliate and marketing agencies).
Ahead of the start of a new football season, Serie A governance detailed its objection to the Lega-5Star decree.
“It would cause competitive disadvantages to the Italian clubs and our teams advertising budget would be redirected abroad. In the 2017-18 season, twelve Serie A clubs have signed a partnership contract with companies of the betting industry, considered the 5th field for investments in the rank of the t-shirt sponsorship in the 6 main European tournaments”
Google becomes the first international firm, to adhere to the new Italian code on gambling advertising, however, business insiders believe that further tech giants Facebook and Twitter will soon follow suit.
It appears likely that Italian betting incumbents and wider stakeholders will move to mount a legal challenge against Lega-5Star’s Dignity Decree’ at both national parliamentary and European Court levels.
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio has stood by his personally penned mandate, stating that protecting Italian consumers from the ills of gambling should be motion supported by all business and political stakeholders.