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Italy’s advertising and communications regulator Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (Agcom) has fined Google €700,000 and an ad agency a further €750,000 for violating the country’s ban on gambling ads.
The sanction is for advertisements that ran on Top Ads' Spike YouTube channels, however Agcom did not specify which gaming businesses or items were promoted.
However, Agcom stated that the punishment imposed on Google - YouTube's parent firm - was the first it has imposed on a video service provider for violating the so-called "dignity directive," which effectively outlawed any gambling advertisements.
The organization also stated that Google and YouTube were liable for the material on the channel since YouTube had awarded Spike the status of "certified partner," making it accountable for ensuring that the channel would not broadcast unlawful information.
While this is the first violation related to YouTube, Agcom has already punished Google, levying a €100,000 penalty in October 2020 for adverts within its search product. This was later reversed last year.
The broad marketing prohibition in Italy has posed significant challenges for football teams, many of whom had previously cooperated with gambling businesses. While partnerships focusing on other markets, such as Asia, are still legal, clubs and football associations have lobbied for the prohibition to be loosened owing to the loss of cash that has resulted since it went into effect.