Italy has become the first European country to ban all advertising for gambling.

TV, radio and internet promotions will be halted from January next year, and sports clubs barred from having gambling sponsors, amid evidence that 400,000 Italians were problem gamblers (last year’s figure) an increase of 400% over the last ten years. Commenting on the growth of the gambling industry in Italy deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio told the press “I think this is an industry that has become a bit too big at the expense of people’s health and dignity. We are going to cut it down in size”.

In the UK our Treasury, assisted by our chancellor Phillip Hammond, has slowed down the rate of progress on the dropping of the maximum bet on addictive Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, FOBT’s, from £100 to £2, a measure which they have delayed till April 2020 over concerns they will lose the substantial revenue they make from problem gamblers. Advertising of gambling has also come under increased fire when it exploits sports events, such as the current World Cup, uses cartoon images to sell to the young and pays BBC football pundits such as Alan Shearer and Robbie Savage to promote gambling.

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