Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCOM) which is the federal communications and media agency in the country has been keeping a close watch on advertising guidelines once the Dignity Decree was rolled out in 2019.
AGCOM recently imposed a €50,000 fine on Il Giunco for showcasing a casino advertising link on the ilgiunco.net website. Il Giunco is a respected provider of news to the Tuscan province. The media house is a small player in a big market and reportedly brings in less than €100,000 in revenue annually.
AGCOM has received a lot of flak on social media from the gambling and media industries for imposing such a hefty fine on a small media house.
However, AGCOM has defended its decision by claiming the €50,000 fine on Il Giunco was the minimum fine that the gambling watchdog could impose.
AGCOM clarified that after the Dignity Decree came into play in 2019, digital companies only had the right to advertise standard products and services of online gambling operators. They were not allowed to advertise or promote any special bonuses, incentives or freebies offered by the casino.
The advertising link on ilgiunco.net violated the terms of the Dignity Decree as a ‘best games and slots’ message was being promoted. Il Giunco tried to dispute the fine claiming that the advertising link came from one of its affiliate partners who was indirectly promoting an online casino.
Italian Media Claims Unfair Practices
Some of the bigger media houses in Italy joined forced to come to the rescue of Il Giunco. They pointed out that a powerhouse like Google Ireland received only a €100,000 fine after the company was found to have committed multiple breaches against the Dignity Decree due to breaching regulations on its Google ad content network and search engine advertising.
Media houses questioned how AGCOM could impose a €100,000 fine for multiple breaches on Google Ireland and a €50,000 fine for a single breach by a small time media publication. They have called for AGCOM to release the latest terms and conditions outlined in the Dignity Decree that covers advertising for the online gambling industry.
AGCOM is looking to send a strong message to the rest of the industry that no gambling ad breaches will be tolerated. However, this hefty fine on Il Giunco has caused a lot of backlash for the Italian advertising watchdog.