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AGCOM Hits X with Hefty Fine for Gambling Advertising Violations

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Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCOM), the Italian media watchdog has issued X (formerly known as Twitter) with a fine of €1.35 million for breaking its rules about gambling advertising.

Italy’s Dignity Decree bans advertising gambling with real money winnings and nine accounts on X, each with the verified blue checkmark, were found to have breached this ban. A press release from AGCOM stated that seven of the accounts have already been blocked by X but two remained active, which led to the regulator issuing a blocking order.

The Dignity Decree, which was passed in 2018, bans all forms of gambling advertising across several mediums including social media, the internet, television, radio, print media, and billboards.

Fourth AGCOM Fine in Four Years

AGCOM has now issued four fines in four years under the Dignity Decree. In October 2020, Google was hit with a €100,000 fine for showing a paid search advert from an online casino. The company was then issued with a €750,000 fine in August 2022 for showing gambling adverts on YouTube.

In December 2023, AGCOM issued a total of €3.15 million in fines to YouTube and Twitch for the presence of 20,000 gambling-themed videos on the platforms.

According to AGCOM, the platforms partnered with content creators who then promoted gambling across 80 channels. While the fines are large, there are doubts over how effective the ban on advertising is at preventing problem gambling, and both companies are expected to appeal their fines.

Italy Moves to Strengthen Player Protection

The fines are part of a wider effort in Italy to boost player protection and combat problem gambling and related harms. This year, the Italian Ministry of the Economy and Finance is leading a gambling sector reform that is tasked with improving player protection and increasing tax revenues.

However, there has been strong opposition from operators regarding an increase in licensing fees and operational charges. They claim that the changes will have a disproportionate impact on smaller businesses while the government claims the changes will improve safety and deliver economic benefits.

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