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Italy’s Communication Authority Fines Google Over Gambling Advertising

August 4, 2022 | Government

MILAN, Italy (August 2, 2022) – Italy’s communication authority said on Tuesday it had fined tech giant Google, owned by parent company Alphabet (GOOGL.O), 750,000 euros ($766,350) for allegedly breaching a ban on gambling advertising on its YouTube video platform.

Italy’s AGCOM said in a statement that it had also fined TOP ADS, the creator of the advertisement content, 700,000 euros.

Google had no immediate comment.

SOURCE: Reuters.

AGCOM PRESS RELEASE

Penalty To Google (You Tube) For Violation of The Rules on The Prohibition of Advertising of Gambling Games

The Communications Authority has adopted two separate injunctions, which sanction, overall, 1 million and 450 Google companies Ireland Limited (750,000 euros) and TOP ADS LTD, (700,000 euros), for the violation of the gambling advertising ban enshrined in art. 9 of the decree-law n. 87/218 (so-called Dignity decree).

This is the first measure adopted by the Authority against a supplier of video sharing services (so-called video sharing platform or VSP), to have allowed the dissemination of prohibited advertising relating to games with cash prizes.

The legislation identifies, in fact, as responsible for the unlawful conduct and recipients of the relative sanctions a plurality of subjects (“client, owner of the vehicle or of the dissemination or destination site and organizer of the show, event or activities”).

The preliminary evidence has ascertained the violation of the rule both by the subject / creator (the TOP ADS LTD company through its website and channels Spike on YouTube), and from YouTube, a subsidiary of Google.

With specific reference to the sanction imposed on Google (already the recipient of a previous injunction order for a total of 100,000 euros – resolution no. 541/20 / CONS of 22 October 2020 – for the violation of the same prohibition of advertising of games with cash prizes by your search engine), yes reports that YouTube has been held responsible for not adopting any initiative for the removal of illegal content massively disseminated on its own platform by a third party (Spike), with whom it has entered into a specific contract of partnership, recognizing to this subject the status of “verified partner”.

In addition to the pecuniary administrative sanction, the Authority ordered the removal (so-called notice & take down) of 625 illegal content still present on the YouTube platform as well as at the site spikeslot.com within a period of seven days, as well as, for the first time, inhibited (notice & stay down) the diffusion and loading of videos having similar violent content, in line with the most recent rulings of the Court of Justice of European Union.

SOURCE: AGCOM.