Italian football has once again been hit with a major betting scandal, this time involving players, as Nicolò Fagioli was sanctioned with a seven month ban for breaking betting rules with more likely to follow.
On a recent episode of iGaming Daily, host SBC’s Senior Media Manager Martyn Elliott was joined by SBC Sponsorship Director George Harborne, as well as Insider Sport Business Journalist Callum Williams on the latest developments in the Italian betting scandal and a deeper look into the country’s gambling black market.
With Sandro Tonali being one of the potential 40 names alleged by controversial Italian journalist Fabrizio Corona to be involved in the betting scandal, the Newcastle United midfielder is expected to hear soon on his potential suspension from football after entering a plea deal this week.
Both Tonali and Fagioli admitted to having gambling addictions after both players were caught by prosecutors gambling on illegal black market platforms.
This led to a deeper discussion on the Italian gambling black market and the €25bn role it plays in the country’s sector. Harborne noted that black market operators may confuse players with what is and what isn’t a trusted platform and believes this caused nothing but frustration for Italy’s gambling regulators.
Harborne also lent his insight into how it’s not solely football players, but members of staff at football clubs are briefed on the laws surrounding betting in the sport and the consequential punishments that may arise from breaking these rules.
The Italian Football Federation over the last several years have clamped down on football’s relationship with gambling operators, introducing a front-of-shirt sponsorship and advertisement bans during league games.
Whilst this ban led to up to a €100m sponsorship revenue loss for Serie A teams with pre-existing gambling operator partnership deals, it also enforced the Federations stringent stance against gambling in the sport.
But what does the Italian football gambling ban achieve in terms of stamping out betting within the sport? Was it a form of public appeasement? And will the league ultimately go back on its decision in the future?
These questions were addressed by the panel in their closing remarks.