The Italian government has made various changes to its regulations affecting prize promotions, but care and local advice are still needed.
Topic: Games of skill and chance
Who: The Italian Government
When: December 2001
By a decree dated 28 December 2001, various regulations affecting the running of prize promotions in Italy have been altered. Under the old law, the prior authorisation of the Ministry of Finance had to be obtained before running most forms of prize promotion. This process took some weeks. Now the job of overseeing these activities has been shifted from the Ministry of Finance to the "Ministry for Production". Apparently this ministry is not now required to give prior authorisation before promotions of this kind can be run, although it must still be notified of any initiative of this kind which is planned. This notification process involves the filing of a standard schedule with a description of the terms, conditions and mechanic of the planned promotion. Also, there have been changes to the categories of promotion which fall to be regulated by this particular law. Historically these have been split into (1) events where prizes are awarded solely to the exercise of skill or chance (so called "concorsi") and (2) the award of prizes to anyone who has bought a certain quantity of a product (so called "operazioni a premio"). The new law establishes that in case (2) the prize can be awarded to customers who, in addition to a certain number of collected proofs of purchase pay an extra money contribution. Such contribution, however, cannot exceed 70% of the production costs of the goods or services being promoted.
Another aspect here is that the new law does not consider as "operazioni a premio" and therefore subject to its special provisions, promotional prizes which consist only of (i) a discount on goods or products of the same kind as those purchased, (ii) a discount on goods or services different from the purchased ones as long the price reduction is not specifically directed to the promotion of those goods, (iii) an additional quantity of the product being purchased.
Why this matters:
Although the need for "prior authorisation" from the Ministry of Finance appears to have gone as a requirement for running prize promotions of most kinds in Italy, the area is still, as can be seen, heavily regulated. As a result, all those contemplating the running of prize promotions in Italy are still advised to take early advice on the regulatory requirements and controls.
Our thanks for this piece go to Felix Hofer of Florence law firm and European Advertising Lawyers' Association member for Italy, Hofer Lösch Torricelli.