SBC News Italian publishers criticise AGCOM penalty disparities

Italian publishers criticise AGCOM penalty disparities

AGCOM, Italy’s federal communications and media agency, has stated that it will maintain stricter monitoring on the advertising of online gambling content by online media platforms.

The regulator issued its warning to digital media incumbents having sanctioned a €50,000 fine to Tuscan provincial news source ‘Il Giunco’ for displaying a ‘casino advertorial link’ on its website.

The enforcement drew widespread criticism of AGCOM, which was branded as a ‘punitive agency’ for penalising independent Il Giunco – a firm generating less than €100,000 in revenue – with a €50,000 fine. 

Defending its actions, AGCOM said that it had enforced the minimum ‘applicable fine’ for Il Giunco, as the company had breached Italy’s advertising standards under the mandate of the federally approved Dignity Decree.

Enforced since 2019, the Decree’s tough stance on online advertising states that digital publishers can only promote online gambling operators’ standard information on product and services. Italian digital advertisers are therefore prohibited from displaying ‘promotional incentives or messaging’ of online gambling operators.

Il Giunco’s advertorial link was deemed to have promoted a ‘best games and slots’ message endorsing The Tuscan news outlet unsuccessfully disputed that the advertorial link had been provided via an affiliate partner indirectly promoting the online casino.

Italian media observers state that the severity of AGCOM’s penalty has demonstrated the deep discrepancies of how Decree laws are being enforced.

Last year, AGCOM fined Google Ireland €100,000 for multiple breaches of the Decree’s online advertising standards across its search engine and ad-network content. This contrasts with the insolvency-threatening €50,000 fine issued to Il Giunco, an independent publisher providing a vital news source for the region of Tuscany. 

Following AGCOM’s Google judgement, Italian digital media operators have demanded that the agency update the publishing terms of the Dignity Decree on online gambling advertising.  

Check Also

SKS365 ‘In The Game’ in Italy as Planetwin365 Rome flagship store launched

Lottomatica plans €500m notes sale to fund SKS365 takeover 

Lottomatica Group has informed investors that it plans to issue €500m in debt notes to …

Catena Media

Catena says ciao to Italy following €19m media divestment

Catena Media has shed further insight into the full sale of its sports betting and …

SBC News Catena Q3 declines bear deep cuts of North American transformation 

Catena Q3 declines bear deep cuts of North American transformation 

Catena Media has completed its strategic review executing a divestment of legacy media assets generating …