Another year, another Italian political crisis, as Matteo ‘il Capitano’ Salvini (Deputy PM) chooses to abandon the Lega-5Star coalition ship, leaving Italy on course to an unknown destination.
At the time of writing, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has declared his resignation, choosing to avoid a certain vote of no confidence served by Salvini and the far-right populist Lega party.
Yet again, Italian betting incumbents will play the familiar guessing game of who will take control of Parliament and what political agenda will be dished-up.
At first glance, options look bleak as Luigi Di Maio – leader of the 5-Star Movement and author of the Dignity Decree’s anti-gambling mandate – seeks to form a coalition with the centre-left Partito Democratico (PD) party, moving to end Salvini’s ‘power grab’.
All eyes rest on embattled Italian President Sergio Mattarella, and whether Italy’s highest-ranking officer will allow yet another ‘uneasy coalition’ to be formed or choose to trigger a further General Election favoured by Salvini and Lega who believe that they can take the thrown outright.
This Political crisis comes as the Italian government is set to review its first checks on gambling concessionaires adhering to the Dignity Decree’s advertising ban.
Prior to the chaos, Treasury undersecretary Alessio Villarosa – a Five Star member – said that he had prepared a ‘new ministerial circular’ which would overrule communications agency AGCOM, the body charged with monitoring the advertising ban, from maintaining its marketing exception for odds comparison and ‘information sharing’ websites.
He stated that his ‘prepared initiatives’ have been put forward to the Finance Minister Giovanni Tria and the Chief Cabinet who will ‘apply the necessary formalities’, essentially implementing measures that would ban outright the digital marketing of gambling services outright.
It remains unclear whether Villarosa’s directive has been instructed as a punishment of AGCOM, who this August publicly criticised the Dignity Decree’s advertising ban, branding it as ‘unconstitutional and incompatible’ for media stakeholders.
Under Italian law, a ministerial circular cannot be regarded as formal legislation and remains non-binding to courts, but can be used as an administrative function given to a public officer, said Giulio Coraggio, Head of Technology for the Italian market at law firm DLA Piper.
“The Italian Government is trying to argue that Italian licensed operators would need to comply with it since they are bound by the gambling license agreement entered with a public authority regulating their Italian gambling license,” said Coraggio.
“The bulletin circular also provides sanctions up to the suspension of the gambling license in case of a breach. This measure does not consider that such a sanction is not prescribed by any primary law or term of the license agreement. The bulletin circular is not yet in place, and hopefully, it will not.”
So at present, there is only one certainty for Italian operators, and that is that the government has collapsed… which perhaps should be thought of as a standard Italian practice.
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