A new era for Italian industry incumbents begins as the media-wide ban on gambling advertising enters full force from 14 July 2019, exactly one year following the Lega-5Star coalition government publishing its Dignity Decree mandate.
The marketing conduct of Italian gambling operators will be monitored by AGCOM, the national communications authority, which has been ordered to enforce the strictest discipline code. It sees operators risk fines equal to 20% of the sponsorship/advertising value and not less than‘€50,000 for each Decree breach’.
The Lega-5Star coalition maintains that all penalty charge proceeds will be attributed to funding problem gambling treatments, however, the Dignity Decree’s anti-gambling faces a number of reality checks.
An under pressure Italian Ministry of Economy & Finance maintains that a gambling advertising ban could reduce industry tax revenues by 5%, once marketing prohibition takes full effect, resulting in an estimated €150 million tax shortfall by 2020/21.
Despite multiple appeals from Italian sports and media leadership, Lega-5Star will pursue its civic responsibility directive, that is expected to cost advertising and sponsorship stakeholders between €150-200 million in revenues per year.
Betting and advertising stakeholders will be forced to follow AGCOM’s strict marketing guidelines published last April, which underline that no Italian media format will allow to display advertising/marketing communications which feature gambling-led prizes, incentives, events, markets or products.
The stark advertising reality of the Dignity Decree sees betting promotions limited to online odds comparison services, odds segments on TV programs or sports websites, the display of costumers’ wins, web-indexing services, B2b marketing communications, gambling exhibitions open to sector operators, operator social responsibility communications and information campaigns on the gaming risks.
The summer months have seen three new online betting operator SportPesa, Marathonbet and Betway terminate their sponsorship contracts with Serie A football clubs Torino, SS Lazio and AS Roma, who have been forced to secure new non-betting related sponsorship partners.
In addition, Fifteen out of twenty Serie A clubs had agreements with betting operators as Italian football clubs count an overall loss around an estimated €35 million.
This numbers game, sees Italian media analysts detail that the Dignity Decree marks a new dawn for much more than the Italian gambling sector.
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