Google accused of breaking Italy's gambling ad ban

  • Updated
  • By Hannah Timoney
Google investigated in Italy

Gambling legislation is always changing and is variable from region to region. In 2018, Italy introduced the ‘Dignity Decree,’ which entails a blanket ban of all forms of gambling advertisement. Adverts relating to betting, games with cash winnings, and gambling are all prohibited as well as banning the sponsorship of events by gambling operators. 

AgCom, (Autorità per le garanzie nelle comunicazioni) Italy’s communications authority launched the inquiry into Google Inc, Google Ireland Limited and Google Italy, over concerns foreign gambling operators were advertising in Google search results. 

On five previous occasions AgCom has ruled that ‘bonus offers’ on online casino sites can also be classed as advertising, and therefore are in contradiction with the Dignity Decree. The authority has even taken the stance that bonus offers count as advertising when they appear on the operators own website.

The investigation into Google comes just a week after the ASA released findings that advertising rules were being breached in the UK, with gambling promotional materials reaching minors. Italy has enforced stricter measures when purchasing lottery products, requiring proof of age even when purchasing from a machine, and these are only available to those over 18 years of age.

This is contrary to the UK, where lottery tickets are available from the age of 16, although there are discussions on whether the lottery should be an 18-over product only.

It is of vital importance that gambling operators operate responsibly and within the confines of the law, to ensure gambling and online casinos are a fun and healthy activity. For more information on responsible gambling read our responsible gambling guides or get in touch with organisations such as BeGambleAware.