Lazio Regional Administrative Court annulled AGCOM’s maximum fine to Google

The decision of the Lazio Regional Administrative Court, which annulled the 750 thousand euro fine imposed by AGCOM on Google for violating the ban on gambling advertising, is important, first of all, in terms of establishing jurisprudence.

Lazio Regional Administrative Court annulled AGCOM’s fine against Google

Google escapes AGCOM’s huge fine

Savings of 750 thousand euros is not a very exciting thing for individual entrepreneurs or small companies, especially not for multinational companies and giants like Google. However, the recent decision of the Lazio Regional Administrative Court is important, above all, in terms of jurisprudence. But we need to take a step back, to July 2022, when AGCOM imposed a sanction. Total fine of 1.45 million euros for gambling advertising.

The recipients of the sanctions were: Google Ireland Limited for €750,000 and acquired TOP ADS ltd for €700,000. The latter company had published several advertising videos on its YouTube channel called “Spike” about winnings at various online casinos. The sanction therefore affected the company responsible for the violation of Article 9 of the Dignity Decree, as well as Google, the parent company of YouTube, which hosted the contents.

The sanction was accompanied by an order to remove these contents within one week of the order. In November 2022, Lazio’s TAR suspended the penalty imposed by AGCOM for the Google-related part, following the final decision in recent days. TAR officially canceled the sanction and the keyword is called “hosting”.

TAR, sanctions and hosting providers: what changes?

The decisive question regarding the sanction in question is exactly this: liability of hosting providersor companies or sites that provide virtual spaces to be sold to advertisers. In this case, the Lazio Regional Administrative Court confirmed its view that mere hosting does not constitute participation in the creation of illegal content.

At this point, it would be interesting to compare Google’s situation with Facebook’s, given what Lazio’s TAR has done in recent months. Meta’s objection was rejected €750,000 for a completely similar fine. The difference is subtle but importantand could set a fundamental precedent for the future of digital marketing in Italy.

In fact, Google was limited to offering a virtual space on YouTube to people who then used it to spread illegal content. However, the meta was frowned upon because it would allow advertisers with business profiles to run ads. Target the Italian public Publishing content that violates the ban on gambling advertising in accordance with the above-mentioned article of the Dignity Decree.

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