Italy’s Anti-Gambling Government Brews Trouble for Gambling Advertising

Italy’s brand new and apparently very anti-gambling coalition government could soon move to ban all forms of gambling advertising, as Deputy Premier and leader of the populist Five Star Movement party Luigi Di Maio reiterated earlier this week their commitment to bar the proliferation of gambling.

Mr. Di Maio also serves as Minister of Economic Development, Labor, and Social Policies in the country’s newly formed government.

In a Thursday interview with Italian radio station RTL 102.5, Minister Di Maio dwelt on a “dignity decree” he introduced on Wednesday and the four points the legal document included, one of which was heavily focused on gambling and a full ban on gambling advertising, in particular.

The politician said during his interview that they are planning to roll out a number of gambling-focused curbs and that advertising of different gambling services across different media outlets would top their agenda. According to Minister Di Maio, online gambling, in particular, needs to be fenced more heavily as it has been getting quite some publicity over the past several years, which has resulted in its stable growth. However, measures would also be taken to restrict land-based gambling services, as well.

Minister Di Maio’s dignity decree from earlier this week was not the first legal document to indicate the upcoming witch-purge within the country’s gambling industry. Last month, the coalition between the Five Star Movement party and the League released a document that contained provisions for a massive reduction in the number of gaming machines across brick-and-mortar facilities as well as a full ban on gambling advertising and gambling sponsorships.

”Nobody wants to eliminate [gambling] altogether”

Minister Di Maio said yesterday that their purpose would not be to eliminate gambling altogether as this would have much griever consequences than placing certain limitations on the industry. The Minister pointed out that a full ban on services of this kind would only drive growth in their illegal provision.

The latest anti-gambling comments from Italy’s brand new government came shortly after new anti-money laundering rules for licensed operators were rolled out. Under the new measures, operators are now required to adopt a more complex system for registering new customers. The new registration form should contain a number of obligatory data fields for new customers to fill in.

The new rules are aimed at providing transparency into the flows of gambling money and securing better traceability for the purposes of detecting attempts for tax evasion and money laundering, among other illicit movements of funds.

Other measures considered by the new Italian government include the limitation of the operation of gambling venues to just eight hours per day, restrictions of gambling involving the placement of repeated bets, and the adoption of different tools aimed at preventing children and other vulnerable people from gambling.

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