LeoVegas Tries to Educate Italian Politicians about Gambling Ads Benefits

LeoVegas is trying to educate Italian politicians about licensed operators’ work toward socially responsible provision of gambling services and overturn a pending ban on all forms of gambling advertising in the country, the company itself said in its Q2 report which it released earlier today.

A blanket ban on gambling adverts in Italy is among the provisions in the so-called Dignity Decree, which was introduced in June by Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio and is currently discussed in the Chamber of Deputies. The legislative piece was approved by the Council of Ministers in July.

The ban is slated to take effect from June 2019. Under it, all forms of gambling advertising across all available channels will be prohibited. Even though the ban is yet to take effect, certain major advertising mediums, including Google AdWords and Facebook, have already prohibited Italy-focused gambling advertising content on their platforms.

LeoVegas said in its quarterly report that the current situation in Italy is still quite unclear and that they expect it might change further by June 2019 when the ban is to take effect.

The company went on to say that it firmly believes a blanket ban would only benefit unlicensed companies. LeoVegas has been among the most active participants in the ongoing gambling ads debate.

Earlier this week, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and the Italian Online Gaming Association (LOGiCO) sent a joint letter to Italian politicians to present them with their arguments why a full ban on gambling adverts would affect customers and Italy’s regulated market in quite a negative manner.

The two associations pointed out that while they support the introduction of measures that would curb socially irresponsible promotion and provision of gambling services, they believe a full ban would have a “counterproductive effect.” According to EGBA and LOGiCO, gambling ads are one of the most important advantages licensed actors have over unlicensed ones. In addition, such adds are required to provide information that refers problem gamblers to the competent organizations.

The joint letter further read that a full ban on gambling adverts would make it easier for black market operators to target customers and enhance their presence in Italy.

Healthy Market

Despite the looming implementation of the gambling advertising ban, Italy’s regulated market seems to be quite healthy. There have been several manifestations of this statement in recent weeks.

According to recently released information by the Italian gambling regulator, Agenzia delle dogane e dei monopoli (ADM), Italian bettors wagered the record amount of €466 million during the Russia World Cup, which represents an increase of nearly 50% from the 2014 edition of the major football tournament. Here it is also important to note that the reported figure beat expectations, as the industry expected lower betting volumes due to the fact that Italy’s national team did not participate in the World Cup this year.

Another important thing to be taken into account is the fact that the Italian gambling market has shown a stable growth over the past decade, yet again according to official data by the ADM. In 2006, when the agency released its first financial report, the country’s gambling market was worth around €5.208 billion after tax. In 2016, the market was valued at €9.014 billion in terms of revenue generated by regulated operations.

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