Online gambling advertising: Agcom (IT) adopts heavy penalties on Google and Top Ads Ltd

posted on 01 September, 2022   (public)

Agcom issues heavy penalties on the video-sharing platform YouTube with a "notice and take down" order for 625 illegal content and, for the first time, a "notice and stay down" order for prohibited gambling advertising of similar unlawful content


The legal framework:

Article 9 of the Italian decree-law n°. 87/218 prohibits direct and indirect gambling advertising (advertising for games with cash prizes) and provides for several levels of liability, depending on the actor involved (client, owner of the medium where the ad is disseminated, the organiser of the event).

The facts & Agcom's decision: 

In this case, Top Ads Ltd was held responsible by the Italian regulator for having disseminated prohibited gambling advertising on its website and its related 5 YouTube channels and was required to pay a 700.000€ administrative fine.

But for the first time, Agcom has also issued a separate injunction to sanction the hosting service provider involved in this case: the video-sharing platform YouTube.

  • YouTube - Google Ireland Limited - has been held responsible for not having taken any initiative to remove illegal content massively disseminated on its platform by one of its "verified partners" (a client linked with a specific contract of partnership). In consequence, a 750.000€ administrative fine was ordered by the Italian authority.

It is worth noting that, in its decision, Agcom also specifically underlines that this is the second time that Google was held responsible for such a violation of the Italian decree-law. In October 2020, a 100.000 fine was issued by Agcom for a breach of the gambling advertising prohibition by Google's search engine (Delibera n°. 541/20/CONS).

  • In addition to the pecuniary administrative sanctions, Agcom issued “a notice and take down” order for the removal of 625 illegal pieces of content, for both Top Ads and YouTube (Google), as well as, for the first time, a "notice and stay down" order. Relying on a recent ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union*, this request intends to prohibit the dissemination and uploading of similar unlawful content.

The owner of the Spike slot channels and website - Top Ads Ltd - has already announced its intention to lodge an appeal.

* See EPRA news on the Court of Justice of the European Union's judgment C-18/18 of 3 October 2019


Source: Agcom