Domenica, 21 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Senate votes for moratorium on new gambling businesses

English
© ANSA

(By Emily Backus)
Rome, September 5 - Premier Enrico Letta's
government was defeated on Thursday when the Senate voted in
favour of a Northern League motion calling for a ban on the
opening of new gambling enterprises in Italy for a year.
There is concern that the rapid spread of gambling outlets
and Internet betting sites after liberalisations is causing a
rise in addictions and huge hardship for the families of
victims.
All forms of gambling have soared during Italy's crippling
recession as unemployment ballooned.
Italy's economy has only seen the tentative beginnings of
recovery in the last quarter.
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.
In 2013, some 9,300 businesses offer gambling of some kind,
up 32.1% on the year, the Milan chamber of commerce revealed in
August.
The number of registered gambling devices have increased
91.2% since 2012, while the number of establishments with slot
machines have nearly doubled.
Economy Undersecretary Alberto Giorgetti said he would
offer to give up his responsibilities for the gambling sector
after the Upper House overwhelmingly rejected his call to vote
against the motion.
He said the content of the motion caused problems regarding
the rights of gambling businesses and that a moratorium would
produce a six-billion-euro hole in the State budget.
A report last year from Italy's Catholic social-service
group CEIS found that gambling was Italy's third-largest
industry, earning 47.5 billion euros in revenue in 2008.
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.
The CEIS study also found that 47% of Italy's poor and 66%
of the unemployed are known to gamble.
"Finally parliament is dictating clear, incisive rules to
the government to control the phenomenon of gambling in our
country," said Giuseppe Lumia, the head of Letta's centre-left
Democratic Party (PD) in the Senate justice commission.
"It's necessary to intervene as soon as possible in the
gambling market to combat pathological gambling and fight the
interest that mafia syndicates and organised crime gangs have in
the sector".

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