Italian advertising and communication regulator Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCOM) has fined Google €700,000 and an advertising agency more than €750,000 for violating the country’s ban on gambling ads.
The fine concerns ads that appeared on major YouTube channels, but AGCOM did not mention which game operators or products were being advertised.
AGCOM said, however, that the fine for Google – the company that owns YouTube – was the first it had issued against a video & streaming service provider for violating a so-called “dignity decree”, which effectively banned all ads. of betting games.
The agency added that Google and YouTube were responsible for the content that appeared on the platform, as the ads were served on channels with “verified partner” status, which makes YouTube responsible for ensuring that no illegal content would be published.
While this is the first YouTube-related fine, AGCOM has fined Google before – having imposed a €100,000 fine in October 2020 for ads within its search product. However, this fine was then overturned last year.
Italy’s sweeping ad ban has been a particular source of difficulty for football clubs, many of which had already partnered with gambling operators.
While partnerships focused on other markets – such as Asia – are still allowed, football clubs and entities have asked for the ban to be relaxed due to the loss of income after its entry into force.
Italy recently faced a downturn in the online sports betting sector, more specifically in May, which recorded revenue of €276.4 million, down from €292.2 million in April.