News On The Guidelines On The (Heavily Regulated) Prize Competitions

Author:Mr Ernesto Apa (Portolano Cavallo) and Donata Cordone (Portolano Cavallo)
Profession:Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance (GALA)

In the last days the Ministry of Economic Development (the "Ministry") released a new update to the "Frequently Asked Questions" issued on March 30, 2017 ("FAQ") - and, since then, already amended several times - providing for some Ministry's guidelines on the interpretation of the provisions of the Presidential Decree of October 26, 2001, no. 430 concerning prize competitions (the "Decree").

By way of background, the Decree - which is an Italian peculiar piece of law and does not implement any EU Directive - defines "prize contests" as promotional activities where the attribution of the prizes basically depends on the chance or the ability/skills of the entrants, and "prize operations" as promotional activities in which a prize basically is assigned to consumers who either sell or buy a determined product/service or a certain amount of them.

Pursuant to the Decree, several filings and fulfilments need to be carried out in connection with prize contests and prize operations and specific restrictions would apply also with respect to the relevant terms and conditions and advertising materials.

The Decree also provides for some specific exceptions to the application of its provisions, inter alia the one - today concerned - regarding the minimum value of the prize awarded in the context of the promotion. Specifically, pursuant to Section 6, paragraph 1, letter d) of the Decree, promotions awarding prizes consisting in items of "minimal value" shall not be regarded as prize contests and prize operations subject to the provisions of the Decree, provided that the awarding of the item is not connected with the nature or entity of products' sales (the "Exception").

No details are provided for by the Decree in connection with the amount of the "minimum value" required in order to apply the Exception and for more than fifteen years the Ministry's position thereon - formalized in the Ministry's circular no. 1/AMTC issued on...

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