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Italian sports bettors’ unlicensed game streams face extinction as new law takes center stage


For sports enthusiasts, catching live games around the globe has become a breeze, thanks to the Internet and its array of unlicensed streaming platforms. But Italy is determined to bring down the curtain on this unauthorized show by introducing a groundbreaking law!

After securing approval from the Italian Senate, Bill 621 is poised to revolutionize the sports betting landscape. With unanimous support from the chamber’s legislators, this measure promises to put an end to illegal streaming of games. 

The Authority for Communications Guarantees (AGCOM) will be the ultimate power in this pursuit, with the ability to swiftly shut down any unauthorized stream without lengthy investigations or approvals. Farewell to those unlicensed English Premier League and NFL matches!

Unlicensed streams–what’s ahead?

While the law still awaits formal implementation, AGCOM, the regulatory body for broadcast communications, will gain the authority to direct Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and network access providers to block any pirated websites or streams—be it sports, film premieres, or entertainment programs. 

Italy Senate, Bill 621
epa09533704 A general view of the Senate as Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi (C, standing) speaks in Rome, Italy, 20 October 2021, ahead of the European Council scheduled for 21 and 22 October. EPA-EFE/ANGELO CARCONI

Providers will have a mere 30 minutes to respond once notified. But AGCOM’s dominion doesn’t stop there! It can also command search engine operators and information service providers involved in facilitating website accessibility to block access to such illegal services.

Working alongside Italy’s National Cybersecurity Agency, AGCOM will craft the necessary framework for implementing these controls. Within six months, a technical group will devise a solution to put an end to these illicit streams.

Fighting fire with fire

These unauthorized streams often gain widespread use through Internet Protocol television (IPTV). Utilizing specific IP addresses, these feeds derive from a mix of pirated legal feeds, homes with paid subscriptions, and other methods. 

Hundreds of apps grant access to these streams, with some smart TV systems even incorporating them into their libraries. The choices are endless, making it incredibly challenging to curb their popularity.

AGCOM aims to raise the barriers to accessing these feeds by proactively ordering ISPs to block known Dynamic Name System (DNS) server links. These links associate website names with specific IP addresses, and blocking them would force users to memorize IP addresses instead of convenient names.

Fortifying consumer protection and broadcasting rights

The new measure’s rationale serves two crucial purposes—protecting consumers and safeguarding broadcasting rights deals. Illegitimate companies often advertise through these illicit streams, tarnishing the reputation of reputable sportsbooks found on these platforms. 

Italy’s lawmakers stress that the country loses a staggering €319 million (US$358.52 million) annually in tax revenue due to unlicensed broadcasts. Additionally, broadcasters miss out on reporting larger subscriber bases. 

Other countries follow suit

Italy isn’t the only country taking action against illegal streaming. Australia has embarked on a similar journey, but the process requires court approval. Recently, a federal court granted an injunction request by major entertainment broadcasters, causing 22 sites and 36 domains to go dark. The US is also clamping down on IPTV providers, with 2023 poised to be the year of reckoning. France is exploring a law that would compel blocked sites to be integrated into web browsers, with the potential adoption of Cleanfeed, a content-blocking system already in use in the UK and Canada.

As Italy prepares to usher in this transformative legislation, bettors and sports fans alike can look forward to a more secure and legitimate sports streaming experience. Let the games begin, legally and ethically, with the grand finale of pirated streams—a thing of the past!

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