Giovedì, 20 Settembre 2018
MILAN

More recession-hit Italians turn to gambling

English
© ANSA

(By Christopher Livesay)

Milan, August 21 - Gambling continues to rise in
recession-hit Italy, according to a new report from the Milan
chamber of commerce.
So far in 2013, some 9,300 businesses offer gambling of
some kind, up 32.1% on the year.
The number of registered gambling devices are up 91.2%
since 2012, while the number of establishments with slot
machines have nearly doubled.
The area where gambling is growing the fastest is the
northern Emilia-Romagna region, followed by the central Marche
region.
The northern Lombardy region leads the country in overall
gambling businesses with 1,342, 14.5% of the Italian total, up
43.4% on the year.
Second is the southern Campania region followed by the
central Lazio region around Rome, which is the city with the
greatest number gambling outlets.
The rise in gambling is widely associated with Italy's
crippling recession and rising unemployment rate.
Studies released late last year by trade union
confederation CGIL showed a 691% jump between 2005 and 2010 in
the number of people seeking professional help to deal with
gambling addictions.
A report last year from Italy's Catholic social-service
group CEIS found that gambling is Italy's third-largest
industry, earning 47.5 billion euros in revenue in 2008.
Its study found that 47% of Italy's poor and 66% of the
unemployed are known to gamble.
The study also showed that 47% of youth aged 15-24 have
played video poker and slot machines.
Online betting, which tripled in 2011, is growing the
fastest, as gamblers spent 1.5 billion euros on the Internet
last year.
Gambling revenue in Italy was up 28.8% to 23.2 billion in
the first quarter of 2012.
The government takes a hefty cut of revenue from gambling
establishments, while most illegal betting is run by the mafia.
In June, police arrested 55 suspected mobsters and seized
nearly half a billion euros in assets across Italy in their
biggest crackdown in years on the infamous Casalesi gang, whose
most lucrative ventures, police said, were the illegal
distribution of slot machines, collecting sports bets and online
gambling.
Police in the raid uncovered a number of sites used to
manage online gambling with servers located abroad in places
such as Romania.
Authorities said that all of the gambling outfits in the
sweep were not necessarily corrupt to begin with.
"All of a sudden you notice companies in the area that were
once in the hands of honest entrepreneurs that have now ended up
in the hands of organized crime," said prosecutor Giovanni
Colangelo.

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