New Lockdown Restrictions In Italy Cause Casino Shut-downs

Image by Gabriella Clare Marino
Article by : Helen Nov 19, 2020

There is a new Coronavirus outbreak in Italy and for this reason, the Italian government has imposed strict quarantine measures on the country, especially in Lombardy and Veneto regions, which are close to Milan and Venice. Currently, Italy is divided into three zones: red, orange, and yellow, and there is a night curfew in the country from 22:00 to 05:00.

Those living in red zones are allowed to leave their houses for work, essential shopping, and health reasons. Restaurants, pubs, bars, gyms, and all the other non-essential stores aren’t open, and even older pupils are studying at home. The southern regions of Puglia and Sicily are in the orange zone, so the residents shouldn’t stay at home, and the shops are open. However, people are not allowed to leave their hometowns. The general national restrictions only are applied in Rome that is in the yellow zone.

The gaming industry in Italy hasn’t had a chance to recover from the first lockdown fully, but now it is imposed by restrictions because of the second wave of wide-scale quarantine that would last until November 24.

This is a significant blow to the gambling industry as far as the casinos have been trying to strengthen Italy’s economy. Anyway, the gaming market keeps the lights on as far as the Lotto and SuperEnalotto tickets are available at kiosks, tobacconists, and shops where people can still purchase them and keep the social distance.

Gambling operators in Italy do not agree with new restrictions, and some large companies make statements to the local mass media saying the lockdown must end. Another fact is that there have not been reported new cases of coronavirus at the Italian gambling venues during the last weeks.

The Ministry of Finance in Italy reported that the government lost €2 billion because of all gaming sites’ compulsory shutdown during a 100 day period. Moreover, Acadi – one of the Italian gambling’s main trade bodies had estimated that casino operators had lost around €1.8 billion in revenues. At the same time, by the end of November, their total losses would be €700 million.

The new restrictions in Italy might become a cause for appearing and promoting the grey and black markets. There has also occurred so-called political infighting between the major sides in the Parliament of Italy, and the main reason for this was the move to prohibit gambling. Andrea Ruggeri, an Italian politician said: “Keeping gambling activities shut has allowed illegal activities to thrive.” However, Vito Crimi, a member of the Five Start movement tweeted: “Slot machines and gambling activities should be the last to reopen… if they never reopened it would be even better. We are fighting for citizens’ health.”

According to data analytics group YouTrend, Italians gamble around €100 billion per year, and more than 400,000 Italians have a gaming addiction. In May 2020 Statista Research Department conducted a survey and asked Italian people what they think about gambling. The survey shows that around half of the interviewed people think it is a waste of money. 37% of those who took part in the survey said it is a kind of addiction and 35% reported that gambling is risky. Anyway, for 15% of people gambling is a form of hobby.

The Prime Minister also noted: “In November we expect we will be suffering a bit but, if we bite the bullet and face these restrictions, we may be able to relax a bit in December”. On the other hand, he couldn’t promise it will end by the end of 2020.

Helen

Chief Editor

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