The Italian communications authority AGCOM is currently taking decisive action against violations of illegal gambling advertising. A few weeks ago, the authority imposed a fine of several million euros on Facebook parent company Meta Platforms Inc. What is interesting about the case is that AGCOM only counted 20 accounts with offensive content on Facebook and Instagram, which are said to be the cause of the fine. Only in a recently published article did we ask ourselves whether a general ban on gambling advertising would make sense or not.
Meta repeatedly violated the ban on gambling advertising in Italy
The Italian authorities viewed it as proven that the US internet company violated the ban on gambling advertising in several cases. Specifically, AGCOM complains that 13 accounts with offensive content were found on the social network Facebook. In addition, five accounts were counted on Instagram, which were obviously advertising online gambling and sports betting.
The authorities counted a total of 32 posts on around 20 accounts that violated Italian gambling laws. Among other things, participation in online gambling was advertised here. This is not allowed in Italy. But why should Meta now pay a fine worth millions when it comes to third-party accounts?
The communications authority accuses the internet giant of not taking decisive action against the placement of illegal gambling advertising. More specifically, the authority is of the opinion that Meta was in a position to recognize that the content was illegal because relevant reports had been made. By the way, at the end of 2020 we at Casinova reported that the Italian government was organizing a so-called “receipt lottery”.
How much is the penalty against Meta?
As AGCOM announced in a statement a few weeks ago, the Facebook parent company must now pay a fine of 5.85 million euros. The reason why the punishment is so high despite the comparatively minor violation is probably primarily the financial strength of the billion-dollar US giant. The company, based in Menlo Park in California, generated sales of around $118 billion in 2021 alone and employed almost 72,000 people worldwide.
The US internet company Meta Platforms Inc. was founded in 2004 and is still led by Mark Zuckerberg today. The Meta Group not only includes the social networks Facebook and Instagram, but also Threads and the instant messaging apps Messenger and WhatsApp.
By the way: Meta is not the first internet company against which the Italian authorities have imposed a high fine for illegal gambling advertising. In the recent past, the communications authority has, among other things, imposed a fine of the equivalent of 900,000 euros on Twitch and over two million euros on YouTube, as these companies are also said to have violated the Italian guidelines on gambling advertising.