Italian watchdog issues fine against X for gambling ads

Nine X accounts were found to advertise gambling sites.
Nine X accounts were found to advertise gambling sites.

Agcom says the former Twitter has breached the country’s ban on gambling advertising.

Italy.- The Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (Agcom) has issued a €1.35m fine against Twitter International Unlimited Company, owner of the social media platform known as X. The regulator said that X had breached the country’s ban on all forms of gambling advertising, which was imposed in 2019.

Agcom said it found nine violations committed by X accounts advertising sites that offered gaming and betting with cash winnings. It argues that X is liable since the accounts have the blue check mark signalling that they are verified accounts. While the blue check mark is now relatively meaningless since it merely shows an account is a paying subscriber, Agcom argues that X has a duty to verify such accounts.

Agcom said it had issued an access inhibition order against two accounts that remain active. The regulator has taken similar action against other social media platforms, issuing a €5.58m fine against Meta earlier this year and fines against Google and Twitch in December.

The European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA) has called for Italy to revise its ban on gambling adverts following reports on black-market activity. The Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported estimates that Italians place €25bn in bets every year with unlicensed operators. Of the total spend, it was estimated that €18.5bn was spent with unlicensed gambling websites.

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