Italy targets YouTube and Twitch over alleged gambling ad breaches

Italy targets YouTube and Twitch over alleged gambling ad breaches

Italy targets YouTube and Twitch over alleged gambling ad breaches
The Italian Dignity Decree has essentially eliminated all gambling advertisements from the regulated market, inflicting stiff penalties on offending parties. The latest to be on the receiving end of Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCOM)’s ire are Alphabet Inc. and Amazon, the owners of YouTube and Twitch respectively, who are said to have allowed gambling videos to show across their platforms through commercial partners with content creators, Reuters first reported. The fines issued to the two entities include a €2.25m penalty handed down to YouTube, and another €900,000 meted out to Twitch, for a total of more than €3m in fines. The platforms are said to have maintained commercial partnerships with creators who produced 20,000 videos, advertising gambling and who shared those videos across 80 individual channels. The story of AGCOM’s enforcement actions in the gambling sector is definitely not one that should be taken lightly, but it’s worth noting that neither company is likely to simply accept the penalty and leave it unchallenged. Italy’s Dignity Decree however is very clear. Introduced in 2018, this piece of legislation shows a no-compromise stance on all forms of advertising, including TV and radio spots, the press, or even physical media, such as billboards. The ban naturally extends to social media and the Internet in general. Google has already been fined once before with the company bearing the brunt of AGCOM’s enforcement action back in August 2022, when the tech giant received a €750,000 fine from the regulator, but this fine was defeated by the Lazio Regional Administrative Court, which ruled in favor of the tech giant, which concluded that Google could not be held liable for the ads that the enforcement action named and targeted. The court simply stated that AGCOM couldn’t prove that Google had been actively involved in ensuring that the content was published, or that it offered it any preferential treatment. This argument is a double-edged sword because operators are usually not able to defend themselves arguing the same case. Image credit: Unsplash.com

14 DEC 2023

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