Italian Gaming Market Update: The Italian Communications Authority Raises Strong Doubts About The Applicability Of The Dignity Decree

 
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The Italian Communications Authority "AGCOM" (Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni) has raised strong doubts about the applicability of the infamous Decree Law 12 July 2018, n. 87, containing 'Urgent provisions for the dignity of workers and businesses', amended by Law 9 August 2018, n. 96, the so-called "Dignity Decree".

The Dignity Decree provided for a 'generalized ban on advertising, sponsorship and all other forms of communications with promotional content relating to games or bets with cash prizes'.

On the 24 of July 2019, the AGCOM issued a detailed "Report to the Government" in which it criticized the regulation introduced by the Dignity Decree. In particular it describes the decree as being in "dissonance with European principles" specifically the principle of proportionality, referred to by the European Court of Justice and European directives. A warning that raises not only a few questions on the application of the current legislation and its compatibility with the European principles of freedom of establishment and services, but also concerns on the possible violation of the Italian Constitution (art. 41).

In particular, the Authority underlines 'The European reference framework' and its 'principles of proportionality and non-discrimination which also rule the sector in question'.

In this regard it refers specifically to Directive 2018/1808/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, of November 14th, 2018 concerning audiovisual media services. The recitals to that directive state: 'In accordance with the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union ... it is possible to limit the freedom to provide services enshrined in the treaty for imperative reasons of general public interest, for example the achievement of a high level of consumer protection, provided that the limitations in question are justified, proportionate and necessary'.

Measures taken by a Member State to implement its national consumer protection regulation also including gambling' advertising, should be justified, proportionate to the pursued objective and necessary under the Court's case law.

It is also important to consider that the prevention...

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