While this is definitely not the harshest of gambling regulations, Italy tried its best. Earlier this year, the country banned all forms of gambling ads, whether online or offline. What does this mean for the industry and the players there? Read to find out.

$200 million lost

The gambling industry in Italy was spending over $200 million a year on advertising. While this is not a huge sum in the broader scope of GDP, it’s quite significant either way. These $200 million that were creating hundreds of jobs are now lost.

This is not just a loss for the gambling industry, it’s a loss for the net economy.

Protecting the gamblers

The reason behind the ban is as simple as always. It’s to protect the gamblers.

It’s no secret that gambling is a risky activity and you can lose more than you planned to. Gambling also has a high potential for abuse, so some people end up addicted. These problem gamblers just can’t stop. A hobby turns into a habit, and it can ruin people’s lives.

However, the percentage of problem gamblers is rather small compared to the number of people who engage in gambling. The regulation touches on all people, not just the problem gamblers.

What you should understand is that problem gamblers are not going to stop gambling if the advertisement stops. It’s always possible to find an illegal casino and take your money there. The problem here is the gambler, not the casino game itself.

Personal motives?

What’s the pitfall? There may be personal motives involved in the regulation.

The problem is with the lack of advertising people are not going to stop gambling right away. They will seek casino options anyway. This means they will face a lot of ads that are not legal.

This leaves a lot of space for illegal operators to enter the market and steal customers from legal casinos. Taking into consideration the fact that many illegal casinos in Italy are said to be controlled by the mafia, it doesn’t take that much of a stretch to think there may be a connection there. Why would you produce a regulation that makes it harder to be a legal casino in Italy if you didn’t get lobbied by the illegal ones?

In any case, that’s just a guess. The man who voiced this guess in the Italian parliament is not clear of personal motives either. He owns a significant portfolio of shares of one of Italy’s gambling operators.

A better solution

If the Italian government really wanted to make a positive change, they would have followed the UK ad ban model. The UK only banned advertising on those platforms that appeal to children.

There’s evidence that kids are more prone to developing a gambling addiction, and the percentage of problem gamblers among the youth is higher than among adults. This type of advertisement ban would both help create a better environment for gambling and let the casinos do their job.


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