Gambling in Italy is traceable back to the time of Roman Empire which makes it one of the oldest practices in the country as it is practically embedding into the Italian culture. The structure of gambling industry in Italy has been criticized by the European Union due to its non-conformational stance as compared to the other countries in EU. Online gambling accounts for about 4% of the whole gambling industry in Italy. The Significant rise percentage raises eyebrows as to the amount of publicity gambling is getting on TV through advertisement resulting to considerations of introducing a ban on online gambling advertising.
Major online gambling platforms in Italy include slotting machines, casinos, mobile apps and websites. Increase in competition has led to rising in the numbers of gambling adverts and commercials. The number of online adverts since 2007 have skyrocketed from1.5 million a year to about 8.5 million a year worldwide. Consequently, youth is exposed to such adverts more than 200 times a year.
The increase in the advertisement of online gambling has not gone unnoticed. That is why many stakeholders who want the best out of the youth in the society are calling for its head. Legislators from all parties but most specifically from the opposition are pressuring for new legislations to be passed banning online gambling. Associations of teachers and parents are also working relentlessly to ensure that online advertisement of gambling is abolished or at least regulated as it is affecting the quality of learning among school going,children.
The Reason for Abolishing Online Gambling
The reason for abolishing online gambling advertisement is very simple according to those pushing for the abolishment of online gambling advertisement. Online gambling is addictive and compels people to gamble. Gambling is considered very dangerous especially to the youth whose minds are not fully developed as they end up wrecking their lives. There is also a need to protect the youth from gambling and its influence following the European Union principals on gambling advertisement, as a way of harmonizing it with the rest of the countries. Italian legislators want to get rid of legislations with loopholes favoring gambling and allowing casinos and gambling websites to advertise even when children are awake as a way of keeping children safe. Another reason for having online gambling advertisement abolished is to encourage a culture of social responsibility and ensure the growth of gambling uninfluenced by the indecisiveness of its customers. The argument is sometimes customers end up losing fortunes in the quest to recover their lost money. Online gambling advertisement increases gambling activities that contribute to match fixing in sports games like soccer. The need to prevent match fixing in sports like soccer games has called for the abolishment of online gambling advertisement.
Effecting Of Ban on Online Advertisement of Gambling
Some of the proposed methods of how the ban on the online advertisement will be effected include:
• “UK styled watershed hour” whereby online gambling can’t be aired, using media intended for minors include mobile apps.
• Restrictions of partnerships between sports clubs and gambling firms. A good example is a partnership between Real Madrid and Bwin in Spain that terminated in 2013 as a way of curbing advertisement although the Spanish club still has the name of Bwin on its jerseys.
.A total ban on online gambling adverts just like tobacco adverts were banned to ensure minors don’t get addicted to this compulsive behavior.
• Limits of adverts on the hour of advertisements and numbers on TV as sometimes people adopt a certain way of life after constant exposure to them like getting exposed daily to gambling adverts.
• Suspension of license to gambling companies if they don’t adjust to rules like a notification when one has been playing for some times like 30mins or when a certain amount has been used up.
• The restriction to entry by the government through tighter tax measures to prevent new business intending to penetrate the gambling business.
Anticipated challenges on implementation of the ban on online gambling advertisement
• Public criticism of the implementation of the online advertisement of the ban by the stakeholders stating that gambling is a game of skill, not luck hence it should be left to thrive.
• There is corruption in the government whereby gamblers are privy to insider information on how the new rules will be like which makes it hard to fight unconventional practices in gambling.
• Some book makers may refuse to enforce the set rules like voluntary notification for gambling time and amount spent; which contributes to non-enforcement of the laid down rules and regulations.
• Probably the new restrictions are unlikely to achieve the desired outcomes as the existing rules are almost similar and have failed to impact any influence on the current gambling trends
How the Ban Will Affect the Gambling Industry
• Revenue from gambling adverts will reduce because online gambling adverts pay TV stations TV time when advertising that contributes to revenue taken by the government as tax.
• Gambling organizations like Bwin will have reduced income revenue will go down meaning less government revenue
• It will discourage corruption and match fixing in sports hence fostering more honesty in sports. It will promote ethical practices as match fixing in clubs in the past have seen even giant soccer clubs like Juventus being implicated in the scandal contributing to bad sportsmanship.
Ban on online gambling advertisement is something that gained acceptance in Italy. Although, The business owners have gone public criticizing the move, the stakeholders pushing for the ban have valid reasons that will see the online advertisement restriction of gambling effected as a conformation to EU agreement.