Italian politicians back moves to restrict gambling advertisementsGambling is very popular in Italy making it one of the top gambling centres in the world, the Italian market is the fourth largest and represents the largest gaming market in Europe. Even with this long history of gambling in the country, there has recently been renewed opposition to its spread by those who claim that gambling can be a cause of some serious social problems. This growing opposition to all forms of gambling has been building up over the past few months with a concerted campaign against the problems often linked to compulsive gambling.

In 2007 skill card games were legalised in the country and four years later real money casino games including poker were made legal by the Italian government. Online gambling has been legal since 2007 but before that time the Italian authorities tried to prevent internet gambling and to stop online casino websites from other countries offering their services to Italian players. This practice of blocking foreign casino websites was opposed by the European Union as happened in several other European countries engaging in possible protectionist activities. As a result of this four years ago, a change in legislation permitted online casino operators from other countries to provide services to Italian gamblers but only after they were granted an Italian gaming licence.

Italy is not the only country where fears of the social fallout from gambling is leading to opposition from several quarters in society. In the United States this same type of opposition is very much to the fore in the question of the possible legalisation of online casinos. Recently an amendment to a gambling bill proposed by a Socialist Party senator was passed by the Italian senate even though the government initially opposed it. This amendment would place restrictions on advertisements for cash games on radio and television. The senator claimed that the amendment is in line with European Union guidelines in combating social problems caused by gambling addiction.