Google AGCOM Italy Gambling Ads

Google to be investigated over Italy gambling ads

Google is to be investigated by the Italian Federal Communications and Advertising Authority (AGCOM), who will decide whether or not the tech company has breached Italy’s online gambling ad ban.

The company’s subsidiaries Google Ireland Limited, Google Inc and Google Italy will all be looked at, after ads from foreign operators appeared in Italian search results.

The Lega-5Star government implemented a complete ban on all types of marketing related to betting and gambling, as well as sponsorships, advertisements and promotions.

In 2018, Google said that it was committed to getting rid of gambling-oriented content and services that were included on its Italian search results.

Italy is enforcing its gambling ad ban 

AGCOM will determine whether or not the appearance of these ads are a breach of Article 9 in the Dignity Decree. The ban on gambling ads applies to search results where foreign operators are placed at the top. Since ads appear above organic results, this has prompted the investigation to see if it was in accordance with national legislation or not.

Most of AGCOM’s efforts to enforce the ban on gambling advertising have so far circled around bonus offers, which the authority is making clear is classed as a form of advertising.

When the Decree was brought into effect, Deputy Minister Luigi Di Maio said that these rules were to ensure that Italians are protected against the potential harms of gambling. He also said that it is “a motion that should be supported by all businesses and political stakeholders”.

At first, many expected that AGCOM would usher away the reports against Google. However, the authority has now asked for further information to determine whether or not there was any wrongdoing.

AGCOM reformed 

Italy’s government has move to shuffle around AGCOM’s leadership this year, with Giacomo Lasorella becoming the authority’s new President. He has made it clear that he will adopt a tougher approach to ensure that advertising laws in the country are adhered to.

Disputes related to AGCOM last year had meant that many expected change to be imminent. Senior executives had expressed their opinions against the blanket ban on gambling/betting ads and sponsorships, which was echoed by clubs in Serie A. Teams in Italy’s top footballing division wanted the new laws to be formally reviewed, as did the senior executives who spoke out against the legislation.

The gambling ad ban in Italy also applies to affiliate marketing.

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