The Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCOM), Italy’s communications regulator, fined Google for allegedly violating the rules of the “Dignity Decree”.
The decree, implemented on January 1, 2019, prohibits all forms of advertising for games and betting. Although the official statement did not provide any concrete amount, according to Reuters, the fine was € 100,000.
AGCOM said that Google has allowed a sponsored ad for an online casino to appear in its search results. In his statement, the regulator said that Google “released the paid ad for the sublimecasino.com website, which places bets with cash winnings”.
AGCOM assessed the case based on Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 which allows “suppliers to be penalized for indexing services established abroad that offer services to the Italian public”.
Old conflict with Google
This is not the first time that Google has come into conflict with the regulator. In 2018, Google agreed to remove all gambling-related content from being indexed in Italian search results.
But in September this year, AGCOM launched an investigation into the search engine after a series of ads in the industry appeared in the country’s search results.
AGCOM is an independent administrative authority in Italy for regulation and guarantee, with headquarters in Naples and a secondary operational office in Rome.
The body, established by the Maccanico Law (1997), has a double mission to ensure the correct competition of operators in the market and to protect the pluralism and fundamental freedoms of citizens in the sectors of telecommunications, publishing and media communication.
The members of the Authority are elected half by the Chamber of Deputies and half by the Senate, while the president is chosen by the Prime Minister in agreement with the Minister for Economic Development. The group remains in office for seven years.