Casino News Roundup: Italian Ban, Apps Flap, Court Denial

Italian Parliament Online Casinos

It wasn’t the best week of news for casino and online gambling as three stories in particular put a damper on progress. We’ll start off in Italy where their advertising ban will become a big setback to gaming in the country. 

Gambling Advertising Is Banned In Italy 

In what can only be deemed a big blow to online gaming in Italy, the Italian parliament voted to ban all gambling advertising last week. While it was a close vote, the final tally was 155-125. 

Going forward, that means that no gambling ads will be able to appear on television, radio or internet. Sports sponsorships also fall under the umbrella of the ban. Curiously and notably, the national lottery operated by the government is an exception carved out in the legislation. It can still go on as normal and be advertised. Truth be told, that’s not all too different from how things are in the United States or Canada. 

The ban officially begins January 1, 2019. A complication is that any company with a current contract that isn’t set to end until after New Year’s Day will be given an extension to June 30. One company among several who could feel the pinch of this restriction is Betway. The company signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Italy’s Serie A soccer club AS Roma this past July. 

Apple Targets Wrong Apps In Anti-Gambling Push 

It seems as though Apple’s anti-gambling app purge hasn’t quite gone as planned. The British Broadcasting Corporation has reported that app developers are highly upset about the removal of their apps from the App Store. These developers claim that the apps involved had nothing to do with gambling but were purged by Apple in the company’s attempt to crack down on gambling. Some of the apps include a Polish magazine, a GIF-sharing mechanism and a platform that facilitates sending clips of Xbox games to other people. 

Wojtek Peitrusiewicz, co-owner of Poland-based iMagazine, said on Twitter last week that the removal of its app came abruptly, mere hours after an update was approved. iMagazine went to Twitter to insist that its publication has nothing to do with gambling. 

We’ll have to see if Apple restores the apps but so far, they haven’t been quite transparent about why they’re targeting gambling apps at this point and what they’ll do with the apps they inaccurately banned. 

Judge Stops California Tribe’s Attempt to Establish Online Casino 

The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel was denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in its attempt to establish an online poker and bingo site, part of an ongoing battle with federal regulators. The Court of Appeals upheld a ruling from a lower district court in favor of the State of California, which has opposed the tribe. 

The case is viewed as a clarifying moment in governing gambling laws in the United States, relating to parameters established by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. It’s a sizable blow but an expected one nonetheless. It feels like the floodgates are just starting to open for online gambling around the country and a lot of companies are racing to be first.