International edition
March 06, 2021

In an effort to fight addiction

Italy prohibits gambling ads

Italy prohibits gambling ads
"I think this is an industry that has become a bit too big, at the expense of people's health and dignity," said industry and welfare minister Luigi Di Maio.
Italy | 07/04/2018

The Italian government has announced that they have become the first European country to impose a ban on the betting industry advertisements, much to the disappointment of football clubs, which benefit from the ads.

L

uigi Di Maio, who serves as industry and welfare minister, said gambling was ruining families and weighing on the budget of the national health service, London South East reports.

"I think this is an industry that has become a bit too big, at the expense of people's health and dignity: we are going to cut it down in size," the deputy premier said in a press conference.

According to Italy's National Research Council, 400,000 people had a gambling problem in 2017, in a fourfold increase from 10 years earlier.

A cabinet meeting decided the clampdown late Monday, despite criticism from the betting industry and from football clubs, which often rely on sponsorship from betting firms.

Claudio Fenucci, chief executive of Serie AÂ team Bologna, was quoted by Il Messaggero daily as denouncing the government's "crazy" move as depriving football clubs of 100 million euros (116 million dollars).

"The only result [...] will be to humiliate Italian [football] fans, whose teams will have less money at their disposal," Deborah Bergamini of the opposition Forza Italia party said.

Forza Italia is the party of former premier Silvio Berlusconi, whose family owns the private TVÂ network Mediaset, which risks losing revenue from banned advertising deals.

Di Maio said his anti-establishment Five Star Movement had long promised the ban, and criticized "famous people" - such as retired star footballer Francesco Totti - who appear in betting ads.

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