Italian betting leaders attending the ICE2020 London conference outlined their concerns as Italy’s new coalition government continues to push through a blanket ban on gambling ads imposed by the Dignity Decree order of the former administration.
Before the meeting, the online gambling trade body LOGiCO claimed unequivocally that the law had failed in its core goals of reducing Italian gambling spending and protecting consumers.
When making its case, LOGiCO will simply point to online statistics taken from August to December 2019, underlining that in the first five months of full implementation of the Decree, online betting increased by 13 percent compared with 2018 comparatives.
After a one-year grace period, Italian betting customers seem to have forgotten the efficacy of the’ blanket ban’ as online betting GGR rose from € 274 m to € 324 m.
Online casino developments further support the assertion by LOGiCO, in which the decree restrictions had no effect on market leaders, with legacy operators Snaitech, Sisal, Eurobet and Goldbet all showing substantial GGR growth within their online casino verticals.
The only perceived effect that could theoretically be credited as a’ Decree outcome’ is that, during the recorded period, international online operators such as bet365, bwin and William Hill noted’ weaker growth’ (under 10 percent).
Speaking at ICE2020, Fabio Schiavolin, CEO of the Snaitech Group, said that the online casino development of his business had little to do with the advertisement ban of the decree, stating that it is “an effect of a long-term strategy and the work we have carried out across our gaming sites”.
He added: “In a moment of total blackout, we are perceived as a reliable brand, which keeps its promises.”
Despite their online advances, Italian betting leadership has highlighted the broader negative impacts imposed on crucial stakeholders by the Decree’s blanket ban.
Governance of Lega Calcio, Italian professional football leagues’ governing body, remains critical of the scope and implications of the decree.
A Lega Calcio study calculated that the decision cost Series A soccer clubs about € 100 m in the form of missed sponsorships, decreased TV rights and increased marketing revenue.
LOGiCO clarified that other sporting bodies shared the concerns of Lega Calcio, as the blanket ban of the decree had a negative impact on Italian media coverage and smaller sports broadcasting.
During the first months of implementation of the decree in which its priorities seem to have been obsolete, Alexander Martin (New Chief Executive of SKS365) expressed his disappointment with a new government that failed to seize the opportunity to work with industry officials to obtain successful insights.
He told the ICE2020 audience: “Politicians often forget that legal operators can reduce the problem gambling as they can control the activity of their customers and identify any problems.”
Despite its well-documented flaws, the new Italian coalition government has detailed in 2020 that it does not maintain a schedule for reviewing its betting advertising mandate by Decree.