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England and Italy concerned about betting ads

World Cup is running in full gear this month and same happens with betting business. The tournament is the gambler’s paradise and one of the major events all betting companies are waiting for to boost their profit. Despite the interest from the clients though, there are voices against betting during the World Cup. Or, to be more precise, of permitting the bookmakers advertising widely their product.

Almost all World Cup games screened on ITV host betting advertisements during their commercial breaks. Radio 4’ “You and Yours” program found that most ad breaks in the matches so far contained at least one gambling advertisement, sometimes two. The companies admit that they have concerns about how many betting messages there are during live sport, but also explain that the current status won’t change, unless the British government changes the law.

Betfred, Skybet, Betfair, BetVictor, Paddy Power, Bet365, William Hill, Ladbrokes and Coral are the biggest advertisers in the commercial breaks this World Cup. In the meantime, ITV viewers have expressed surprise on social media about the amount of gambling advertisements this week, but ITV said there were no more commercials this tournament than in previous ones.

At the same time, Italy’s new coalition government is considering of a draft law which could would ban online gambling advertisements and sponsorships within the country. If this law is implemented, Italy could impose an absolute ban on any form of betting advertising – even indirect advertising – related to games or betting with monetary prizes carried out by any means including through sporting events, TV or radio adverts, billboards or the internet.

The changes could take effect on 1 January 2019 and companies or others who fail to comply will face fines of 50.000 EUR, extending to 5% of the sponsorship or advertising value. Higher fines of up to 500.000 EUR will apply to advertise gambling services or products that target young people. The funds will be used to combat gambling problems. LeoVegas, the Malta-based company, believes though that an ad ban would violate Italy’s constitutional protections to carry on doing business.


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