Ban on advertising: the new Agcom rules for online gaming
Bans on promotion confirmed for online gaming companies, including international ones: except for activities on shares and seo, as long as they don’t incentive.
The ban on advertising of paid gaming is applied to those who operate in the Italian public gaming sector, having their registered office in Italy, “including secondary offices”, according to Agcom recommendations. The ban also applies to persons with a registered office abroad, if they “have received the concession to offer paid gaming in Italy by the Agenzia delle dogane e dei monopoli” or “they have been authorized to provide audiovisual media services in Italy”.
However, as indicated by the Authority in the resolution accompanying the Guidelines, “unlike direct and indirect forms of advertising, mere communications maintaining an exclusive descriptive, informative purpose identifying the legal gaming offer, functional to allow an informed gaming choice, and therefore in line with the objective of consumer protection set out in article 9 of the decree n.87/18, and with a systematic interpretation of the regulation of paid gaming offer that the law makes the subject of a specific concession regime and subject to specific information obligations, must be considered excluded from the prohibition; in order to define the informative or promotional nature of the communication concerning the offer of gaming services, the following things are important: the methods of creating the message (eg the language used, graphic or acoustic elements, the context of spread, etc.) and the context in which the related service is offered. The communication of information content relating to the gaming service carried out in a context different from that in which gaming service is offered, it is supposed is promotional one, and therefore prohibited, given that in this case the consumer could be “surprised” by the so-called “surprise effect”.
SHARES AND SEO COMPARISON – The informative services for comparing shares or commercial offers of the various competitors are not to be considered advertising, provided they are carried out in compliance with the principles of continence, non-misleading and transparency (for example, the so-called “share spaces” or the sections hosted by tv programs or sports websites indicating the shares offered by the bookmakers).
The scope of application of the prohibition doesn’t include free indexing services using algorithms directly provided by search engines or marketplaces (eg Apple Store, Google Play), allowing the gaming operator to have a better positioning in the search results of the user, once the latter has already entered the specific query relating to the paid gaming in the search engine or in the marketplace.
EXPECTED UPDATES – Anyway, the Authority undertakes to provide additional specifications for social networks and the like, promising in the Resolution to “promote forms of co-regulation providig for the obligation, for the managers of social networks and blogs, to remove the advertising of paid gaming conveyed violating the prohibition in art. 9 of the decree”.