As Italy’s parliament debates the approved mandate of the Lega-5Star ‘Dignity Decree’, implementing a blanket ban on sports betting advertising and sponsorship, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has detailed its support for Italian industry trade body – LOGiCO’s stance against the proposal.
Teaming up with LOGiCO, the EGBA has sent a joint letter to Italian MPs ‘expressing significant concerns about the impact of the ban and its unintended effect.’
Both associations believe that a blanket ban will be counterproductive in its aim of protecting Italian consumers, pushing players towards unregulated gambling websites that will not protect them.
“The majority of people in Italy, like is the case elsewhere in Europe, place an online bet or play poker for fun and do so in a responsible manner. Yet problem gambling, which an estimated 1-2% of players in the EU are affected by, is a justified public health concern that can severely and negatively affect players – and it and its consequences should be addressed further.
All stakeholders – parliamentarians, regulators, gambling operators, consumer and health organisations – must work closer together, and much more rigorously, in Italy and elsewhere, to find a multi-faceted solution to this complex problem. But while a total blanket ban on advertising may seem like an obvious measure, it is not a “silver bullet” and will actually have a counterproductive effect” details the joint-letter
As a European trade body, the EGBA warns Italian MPs that a ban on advertising will likely grow the nation’s black market for betting.
Furthermore, the EGBA and LOGiCO believe that advertising plays an important role in informing vulnerable customers of gambling-related harm treatment functions/services such as Italy’s newly developed ‘National Self Exclusion Register’.
The EGBA urges the government, to adhere to the European Commission’s guiding recommendations on gambling advertising which states that “Commercial communication of online gambling services can play an important role in directing consumers to an offer which has been allowed and is supervised”
“Rather than debating a complete ban on advertising, we call on the Italian parliament and government to debate ways and specific measures in which vulnerable people and minors can be better protected from aggressive and deceptive advertising.
Regulation of advertising should be based on scientific studies and research, such as Rue Gray 50, 1040 Brussels, Belgium EU Transparency register: 29508582413-52 www.egba.eu have been carried out in other European jurisdictions (UK Gambling Commission study – Young People and Gambling, 2016). This is an important debate in which all online gambling operators, including those represented by EGBA and LOGiCO, will have to take their responsibility. We stand ready to do so.”