A potential gaming advertising ban is contained in the last draft of Italian gambling law, but there is no doubt that it will trigger legal challenges if approved.

Italian licensed operators are VERY UNLIKELY to accept to have their business considerably harmed by gaming advertising restrictions appeared in the last draft law setting new rules for the whole gaming sector in Italy.

What’s happening to Italian gaming law?

A few days ago, I had published a blog post referring to potential delays in the approval of what is known as Delega Fiscale decree.  The Italian Government has now apparently decided that a decree approved by the sole Government was not the most appropriate route to define new rules for the gaming sector that is very sensitive.

As a consequence, a law proposal reproducing most of the contents of the Delega Fiscale decree has now been submitted to the Parliament with the difference that it provides for a ban of gambling advertising.  Only sponsorship deals and institutional advertising would be left out of the prohibition, while the draft Delega Fiscale decree provided gaming regulations that for most of their terms were in line with those already in place.

Is it the calm before the storm?

Online gaming operators were assigned with a license for which they paid a considerable amount and have borne substantial investments also to comply with regulatory obligations that are quite stringent.

If such investments are vanished by regulations preventing gaming advertising, this would de facto prevent the exploitation of the license and operators might argue to have been discriminated and claim not only the refund of their investments, but also the refund for the suffered damages.

Time to act?

The above is a mere draft law and no discussion has started at all before the Parliament on its terms.  Therefore it is quite early for any type of assessment of the impact of the matter.  My personal view is that such restriction will not be approved because of the potential litigations that might arise and of the potential financial loss for the whole advertising sector in Italy.