14.03.2024

by Kajetan Sawicz

X Hit with $1.5M Fine Over Gambling Ads by Italian Regulator

AGCOM, Italy’s media authority, has fined X (formerly Twitter) $1.5 million for breaching the country’s strict gambling ad regulations. This marks a significant enforcement of Italy’s Dignity Decree, highlighting the ongoing scrutiny digital platforms face regarding gambling content.

italy

AGCOM Cracks Down on Gambling Advertisements

In a decisive move, the Italian media watchdog, Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCOM), has imposed a substantial fine of €1.35 million ($1.5 million) on X (formerly known as Twitter). This action marks the first instance where X has been fined for violating Italy’s stringent regulations on gambling advertisements, specifically breaching the country’s Dignity Decree.

The fine was levied against X for allowing the dissemination of gambling content with monetary winnings or games of chance through its platform. Il Sole 24 Ore reported that nine verified accounts on X were identified for contravening the Dignity Decree. AGCOM’s session on March 6, 2024, culminated in this decision, emphasizing the regulatory body’s commitment to enforcing the decree’s provisions.

Despite X’s efforts to block seven of the infringing accounts, two remained active, prompting AGCOM to issue a direct blocking order for these accounts, showcasing the regulator’s resolve to ensure compliance with the advertising ban.

Ongoing Battle Against Gambling Advertisements

This is not the first time AGCOM has taken action against digital platforms under the Dignity Decree. Google and its subsidiary YouTube, along with Twitch, have previously faced fines for similar violations, pointing to a broader struggle within the digital space to adhere to Italy’s gambling advertisement restrictions.

The Dignity Decree, enacted in 2018, aims to curb problem gambling by eliminating gambling advertisements across a wide range of media, including digital platforms. The effectiveness of these measures, however, remains a topic of debate within the industry.

The fines come at a time when Italy is undergoing a significant reform of its gambling sector, led by the Ministry of the Economy and Finance. The reform seeks to enhance player protection and increase tax revenues but has faced criticism from operators concerned about the impact of licensing fee increases and operational charges on smaller businesses.

Our Comment on the Article

The recent fine imposed on X by AGCOM underscores the ongoing challenges and complexities faced by digital platforms in navigating the regulatory landscape of gambling advertisements. As Italy continues to refine its approach to regulating the gambling sector, the balance between consumer protection, operator viability, and regulatory compliance remains a critical consideration. The evolving regulatory environment demands adaptability and vigilance from all stakeholders to ensure the responsible promotion and consumption of gambling services, aligning with broader societal and economic objectives.

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