Italy’s tough gambling advertising regulations mean dialogue between operators and their players can be enhanced to develop sustainable revenue models.
Italy is one of the most mature online sports betting and gaming markets in Europe and has evolved into a well-regulated and competitive jurisdiction. When thinking about the history of online gambling in Italy, it’s interesting to note that it was the first EU member state to legalise, license and regulate online gambling in a comprehensive way in 2006.
History lessons aside, Italy is a major European market for online gambling operators and has its own set of specific characteristics when it comes to its regulations.
For example, the regulator, AAMS as it was known in 2007 before regulatory oversight was handed over to the customs and monopoly agency ADM, requires all sportsbooks to seek approval for the events on which they offer bets. With regard to sports betting taxes, for many years these were set on sportsbooks’ turnovers, which placed them at major disadvantage, before the rules were changed and taxes were set on their gross profits as they should be.
Pain points in the Italian gambling sector
The key regulatory event of recent years has been the advertising and marketing ban the Italian government implemented on operators in 2018. It came into effect in 2019 and prohibits any gambling advertising that offers players the chance to win cash prizes.
The ban reaches into all advertising channels and includes sponsorship of sports clubs and related TV and radio programmes, but also any advertising linked to cultural or artistic events. It’s had a significant impact on stakeholders, such as sports clubs and related sponsorship activities, along with mainstream news, sports or affiliate publishers, who have all reported drops in advertising and sponsorship revenues.
Operators meanwhile have been unable to advertise their products to Italian players in settings that are highly relevant to them such as live sporting events or sports broadcasts; while, as mentioned, sports clubs and media companies have not been able to accept major marketing budgets from gambling companies.
The ban poses a major regulatory question for the Italian sector and mirrors events that have taken place in Spain in the past few years, with the Spanish government enacting its own gambling advertising ban in 2019-20, which the authorities said was to ensure at-risk players were protected from developing gambling addictions as strict lockdowns were implemented throughout the country.
As a result, advertising spend dropped considerably in Spain and only started rising again this year as the industry worked out how to adapt to the ban. For operators the ban also means there are fewer opportunities to connect and engage with players, impacting the acquisition of new players and retention of existing ones.
From an investment perspective it can also mean that operators become wary of investing in the market, especially when one of the biggest benefits of regulated markets is the ability to advertise to mass consumer audiences through mainstream platforms.
Helping operators grow sustainably
In common with other well regulated markets, Italian operators can only contact players via SMS or email if they have their consent, but there are no such rules with regard to calling them by phone and prompting two-way engagement in that way. As the Italian government shuts off the marketing routes operators would normally make use of, the ability to maintain open, direct dialogue with consumers remains as one of the best strategies for retention and reactivation.
Moreover, since customers often provide valuable feedback directly to Enteractive’s brand representatives on a phone call, our clients have instant access to user data, comments, and preferences on Enteractive’s (Re)Activation Cloud dashboard.
While we complement our clients existing CRM activities to further develop their revenues and optimise their player lifetime values, we always operate with the highest standards of player safety and responsible gambling in mind.
Even though European jurisdictions are tightening their gambling advertising legal frameworks, they are also looking to strike a balance between enabling gambling advertising and having strong player safety measures in place. Enteractive’s personal approach to customer engagement works to reach this balance through direct dialogue that interacts with and educates players, using agents who speak their language and have the same cultural references as them.
By placing responsible gambling at the centre of our consumer activation model, Enteractive reinforces that the industry is committed to onboarding players in a manner which not only generates revenues, but is both sustainable for operators as well as safe for players.
Operators wanting more information out about how they can grow their revenues through our responsible activation programmes can contact us at www.enteractive.com or email Francesca directly on firstname.lastname@example.org