Lucrezia Micangeli

Gambling Advertising between Primary Legislation, Regulation and the Role of Public Institutions: The Debate on Policies and Open Questions

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Advertising, Gambling, National Legislation, Communications Regulatory Authori- ty, Sector-Specific Regulation, Guidelines

The growth of gambling, and its social and pathological implications, mostly in terms of health, consumer protection, public security, public spending and economic repercussions, call for legal and regulatory interventions, with a focus on advertising. In fact, the latter stands as one of the moments of «capture» of the potential gambler, and the context where he needs to be properly informed, among other things, of the odds of winning and of the risks of addiction. Therefore, gambling critics and activists have called for tighter controls over gambling advertising. The latest national legislation tried to deal with this goal by a complete veto to gambling advertising upon the watchful eye of the Communications Regulatory Authority. The Authority has adopted guidelines in order to further clarify the scope of the law and has also improved its supervisory role with regard to gambling providers illegal behaviors. Nevertheless, either the Authority or the gambling operators (providers, game dealers, broadcasters, trade associations) highlighted some issues underlying the law and also the Authority guidelines seem to have a number of grey areas. In particular, still appears unsolved the conflict between economic interests of the State and the freedom of private economic initiative of the game dealers, and the need to prevent and treat the social problems arising from gambling addiction. In this respect, the balance between operators and consumer protection, tax policy and social issues is hard to implement by regulation. Likewise, it is necessary to harmonize the legislative framework, also clarifying the scope of the law and the role of the regulation in this particular new and complex field, in which the knowledge of all the aspects encompassed by the issue, beyond the economic and human resources available to the regulator, it may not be enough. This paper analyzes both the national legislation on gambling advertising and the Communications Regulatory Authority’s interventions, with a focus on the role of different public bodies in this field, and offers some food for thought, vis-à-vis the debate on enacted measures.

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