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Online Gambling: Contrasting Approaches in Italy and Spain – Olive Press News Spain



The entire world has been witnessing a massive gambling boom in the last decade, which was mostly driven by the quick advancement of online casinos. The high demand for risky entertainment brought numerous benefits, including increased revenue from taxes. At the same time, online gambling, with its freedom and flexibility, causes particular problems like overspending resulting in compulsive disorders. Moreover, fraudulent activities are held through digital casinos.

Therefore, governments faced the need to implement appropriate industry regulations to gain more control. Legislation varies depending on the state, and even though the general rules are pretty much the same, there are still significant differences. Italy and Spain are examples of two countries where iGaming is allowed and regulated but with some important peculiarities. Let’s discover the industry landscape in both states.

State of Italian Gambling Industry

Italy is the cradle of European gaming, as the first casino on the continent was founded in Venice in 1638. Locals are passionate fans of this pastime, but most prefer virtual gaming clubs due to their high accessibility in the country. The Italian legislation allows users to join licensed platforms under the control of local gambling authorities or select a non AAMS online casino of, certified by other responsible bodies.

Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM) is the main state’s overseer of the gambling industry that issues licenses and controls all companies operating in the market. Even though online casinos are legal, they face numerous requirements and restrictions. Italian regulatory bodies aim to make iGaming as fair and transparent as possible and eliminate the rate of related disorders among the population. The main points include operating under valid licensing and providing customers with enhanced safety in digital casinos. Moreover, the country has recently released several gambling bans aiming to improve the overall landscape.

Prohibiting Usage of Cryptocurrencies

As a growing concern in the public health sector, gambling addiction rates in the country are alarming: according to reports, around 36% of Italian play casino games regularly, and over 3% suffer from compulsive disorders. Regulatory bodies aim to minimize the harmful impact through implementing restrictions for operators and players. Therefore, AAMS prohibits the usage of cryptocurrencies in online gambling. Bitcoin transactions are not trackable, which gives the green light for users and provokes overspending. The latest ban aims to reduce anonymous gambling participation and allows the responsible body to gain more control over the industry.

Ban on Gambling Ads & Sponsorships

Online casinos face stiff competition in the quickly developing market and have the need to promote themselves through all possible means. Advertisements on banners, TV, and social media are among the effective measures, but the latest updates in AAMS regulations prohibit them in the country. This decision aims to reduce the harmful impact of online gambling, especially on the younger generation. The same works with sponsorships: Italian athletes and sports clubs are no longer allowed to collaborate with iGaming companies.

Online Gambling Landscape in Spain

As in many other European countries, including Italy, iGaming is fully regulated in Spain. Online casinos are only considered legal if licensed by appropriate responsible authorities and operating under valid legislation. The Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ) is the main organization supervising the industry in the country, issuing licenses, and updating relevant legislation. The body also helps players resolve disputes and cope with fraudulent activities like money laundering through online casinos.

Ban on Offshore Operators

The Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling prohibits operations of offshore online casinos unless they are approved by the authority. This point differentiates the Spanish industry from that of Italy, where overseas sites are available. Only iGaming operators authorized in the country can provide services in Spain.

Overturn on Gambling Ads Ban

Tightening regulations regarding gambling advertisement is witnessed globally, as partnerships between casino companies and sports teams attract a lot of attention and are potentially harmful due to increased engagement in the industry. Spain implemented similar laws in 2020, but currently, the government has partially cancelled this regulation. 

The local court agreed that the restriction on casino ads was illegal and was a significant obstacle to leading the business in the country. Therefore, gambling companies can launch promotions online again using all means, excluding TV and radio. In addition, iGaming operators can still sponsor athletes and use them for their campaigns.

Final Thoughts

Italy and Spain both allow online gambling activities on their territories if online casinos are certified and comply with the valid legislation. Both European countries have regulatory bodies controlling the sector and regularly update requirements to make the market more stable and transparent. However, Italy is known for stricter gambling rules, considering the recent ban on cryptocurrencies in online casinos and a total restriction on iGaming ads.

At the same time, Spain only accepts operators certified within the state without any exceptions for offshore-regulated platforms. On the other hand, the government has lately reversed the ban on gambling sponsorships and promotions, which gives more opportunities to gambling businesses. Online casinos can still collaborate with sports teams and launch advertisement campaigns through different means, including banners during events and online commercials.

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