Italian Gambling Industry Under The Microscope
In temperamental Italians miraculously gets merged the love to gamble and risk and a fiery commitment to Catholicism, execrating such sinful entertainments.
The whole point, obviously, is that the passion for playing in the Apennines was born during the Roman Empire. It is not surprising that the first European gambling house appeared in Italy’s Venice –Ridotto in 1638. A mad popularity of this institution has led to the spread of game clubs, called casinos (from the Italian ‘casa’, or ‘house’). However, with the coming to power of the Nazis an attempt to put an end to this outrage was made. The initiative was a complete fiasco as gambling fans rushed to play to the neighboring countries.
As prime minister of Italy in 1923, Benito Mussolini, anxious about diversion of money abroad, made a strategic decision, and moved the casino to place on the borders of Italian frontiers: thus, a gambling house in San Remo was supposed to resist the temptation to visit the nearby Monaco, two casinos in Venice guarded the entry of Slovenia, a gaming center in Compagnoni obliged to cover the border with Switzerland, and St. Vincent casino was supposed to ‘block the way’ of the avid players seeking to try their luck in France and Switzerland. Since then and until now, these five casinos have the status of municipalities, while each municipality is free to set its own taxation, which can reach 70 percent of gross income. In Italy gambling houses either owned by the State or by private persons.
Italian gambling nowadays
Obviously inspired by the example of Duce, today’s politicians being well aware that the fight against this addiction is useless, decided to continue the line of Mussolini, turning gambling into one of the most effective tools to protect national interests.
Today in Italy playing the slot machines, betting with bookmakers and buying and selling lottery is allowed legally, if these activities received the relevant authorization from the government.
In addition, on July 18, 2011 in Italy online gambling was officially allowed, pushing the local poker, blackjack, roulette and other games to the next level. Under the influence of this ‘revolutionary’ innovation seriously changed the mentality and habits of ordinary Italians, who had the opportunity to indulge in gambling, without leaving home. Experts estimated that after the approval not only the pockets of the operators of gambling became weightier, but also the state treasury starting to getting replenished with unimaginable speed (getting about 18 billion EUR per year). As a result, the total annual revenue from virtual gambling in Italy today is one of the highest in Europe, about 60 billion euros (4 per cent of Italian GDP).
However, the way the money is generated is not that fluffy. A study conducted by the Auser Association argues that most dominating gambling addicted groups are represented by children, women and the elderly. Recently, for example, in the early morning the elderly line up to buy a thoroughbred coveted lottery ticket. Many perform this ritual every day in the hope of winning the jackpot and improving the financial situation for all the family. According to DGFEV gambling research center, which website features a comprehensive stats database, the elderly constitute up to 27% of all the lottery players.