Yesterday, Italy’s new coalition government finalized a draft of their Dignity Decree, a move that will see online gambling advertising and sponsorship’s banned. The ban would take effect on January 1st, 2019 and would apply to any form of advertising that relates to games or wagering with money. The advertising ban will cover any means including artistic events, sporting events, television broadcasts, radio, daily press, billboards, online and more.

According to CalvinAyre, an explanatory report of the ban stated that it applies to not only advertising but also sponsorships, along with every form of content communication promotions that are not counted as tabular advertising, such as the superimposition of the brand, activities, name, etc., that promotes betting or gambling.

Those who fail to follow the restrictions will face an administrative fine that will begin at €50,000 and extend to 5% of the value of the advertising or sponsorship. Fines will be handed down to gambling operators, media outlets that provide advertising as well as sports groups and event organizers. Larger fines of €100,000 to €500,000 will apply to those who advertise gambling services or products alongside programs that cater to an underage audience.

The money that is raised from the set fines will be placed towards programs focusing on reducing harm from problem gambling, due to the fact that the ad ban was created to strengthen consumer protection.

Operators are not too happy with the ban, with one making public comments on the matter. LeoVegas, an online gambling provider licensed in Italy, has stated that the ban proposal could be in violation of the country’s constitutional protections involving the freedom to do business, due to the fact that the government’s has legalized and provided licensing for online gambling basically saying that gambling does not represent a threat to society.

The operator would like to see the coalition change their proposal to cover problem gambling without populist slogans or action. LeoVegas feels that the ban will not create a reduction in problem gambling as it will create an increase in advertising efforts by operators that provide gambling without a license in the country.