Di Maio’s man Giacomo Lasorella takes leadership of AGCOM

Italy’s DP-5Star coalition government has moved to restructure the leadership of federal advertising and communications agency AGCOM by confirming the appointment of Giacomo Lasorella as new President.

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The appointment of Lasorella has been branded as a further coalition victory for the ‘anti-establishment’ 5-Star Movement, as he maintains a close friendship with Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Luigi Di Maio (pictured).

A proud anti-gambling campaigner, Di Maio is the former leader of 5Star, recognised as the author of Italy’s new punitive gambling code formed under the mandate of the 2018 ‘Dignity Decree’ sanctioned by the former governing Lega-5Star coalition government (2018-2019).

A reform of AGCOM had been anticipated following 2019 disputes, as senior executives of the agency spoke out against the Dignity Decree’s flagship blanket ban on betting advertising and sponsorship, siding with Serie A clubs who demanded a formal review of new laws.

AGCOM leadership had stated that Di Maio’s advertising orders were ‘unconstitutional and incompatible’ with Italy’s business laws, a reaction which led to 5Star’s leader demanding an overhaul of the agency’s board.

Di Maio’s order takes shape with the appointment of Lasorella, a 20-year Italian civil servant who most recently served as deputy secretary-general for parliament since July 2015.

Lasorella’s appointment will likely change how AGCOM enforces Dignity Decree advertising penalties, which have been prudent thus far.

During the course of 2020, only two licensed incumbents NetBet and Eurobet have been fined by the communications agency for breaching Decree advertising terms by promoting the use of a ‘welcome bonus as a player incentive’ on their websites.

Both operators chose to settle their penalties without contesting AGCOM’s assessment, paying the agency €17,000, a fee well below the €50,000 penalty charge summoned by the Dignity Decree’s mandate on advertising breaches.

Last July, the DP-5Star coalition confirmed the appointment of Marcello Minenna as new Director-General of Italy’s ADM – customs and monopolies agency, the federal department overseeing the regulatory governance of Italy’s gambling industry.

Asserting no reprieve for embattled bookmakers coming back from national lockdown, Minenna’s first orders saw the ADM and Guardia di Finanza (Italy’s financial police unit) ‘begin a process’ to close down ‘non-compliant betting shops and retail points for failure to pay their betting duties’.

Minenna underlined that his department held the right to close down betting shops as the government had authorised new gambling laws sanctioned under  Italy’s ‘2020 Budget Law, which parliament approved last December.

Taking leadership of the ADM, Minenna warned Italy’s licensed operators that he would ‘maintain the strictest monitoring of gambling activities’.

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