AGCOM, Italy’s media and communications agency has warned foreign and domestic media owners and affiliate publishers that Dignity Decree rules on gambling advertising must be obeyed.
The warning comes as AGCOM confirms that it has fined Google Ireland Ltd a record penalty of €750,000 for allowing its YouTube platform to promote gambling-related content on its video channels.
YouTube was deemed to have breached Article-9 of the Dignity Decree (2018) – which prohibits any form of direct and indirect gambling advertising from being displayed to Italian audiences.
A further €700,000 fine was issued to Malta-based affiliate marketing agency Top Ads Ltd for creating illicit content promoting gambling offers on SpikeSlot.com – reported to have been displayed across five separate YouTube Channels.
AGCOM warned media owners; “This is the first measure taken by the office against a video hosting service provider for allowing the distribution of banned advertisements relating to games with cash winnings.”
The agency reprimanded YouTube for authorising Top Ads as a ‘verified partner’, allowing its channels to post gambling content without scrutiny.
“YouTube was found liable for not taking action to remove the illegal content widely distributed on its platform by a third party” – the warning further detailed.
AGCOM underlined that it held the full authorisation to penalise foreign media owners due to recent rulings by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) favouring the authority of state agencies on gambling adverts.
Google has previously clashed with AGCOM on interpreting the Dignity Decree rules applied to gambling advertising on its digital platforms.
Last year, AGCOM ordered Google to pay €100,000 for breaching Decree rules on its search engine and third-party ad-publishing network.
However, a review by a Rome Court judged that Google ads are created in full ‘autonomy by the advertiser’, who generates their content through an ‘automated process’.
As such, Google advertisers must register and verify their accounts whilst accepting the rules of Google platforms that prohibit and restrict certain ad-categories such as gambling, tobacco, alcohol, and drugs, dependent on the specific laws of each jurisdiction.