Casinos, betting shops and gaming halls must remain closed until March 5
Italy.- All casinos, betting shops, gaming arcades and bingo halls must remain closed until March 5 as operators lost their appeal against restrictions adopted to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
The decision was made by the administrative court in Lazio despite appeals from gaming businesses all over Italy against the measures adopted by the Council of Ministers, and the Customs and Monopoly Agency.
Italy’s current Covid-19 prevention decree is due to expire on March 5, but some gaming operators fear they may be forced to remain closed even longer. Many complain that the gaming sector is being singled out.
Iari Fondi, the owner of a gaming business in Altopascio in the province of Lucca wrote to the Corriere Fiorentino newspaper: “Behind the prolonged closure of gaming companies there is a precise political will, hidden by the health emergency, that is using the devastating effects of Covid-19 to bring the legal and public gaming industry to its knees.”
He went on to write: “My venue is 300 square meters and complies with all the requirements, where is the risk of contagion compared to a supermarket? . . . We have equipped ourselves as requested: machines reduced for distancing, sanitation, plexiglass barriers and alternating staff.”
He added: “If on March 5 we don’t start again, I don’t know what will happen.”
The court will hear a petition from operators on February 10.
Gambling addiction targeted in new bill
Meanwhile in Italy, senator Ruggiero Quarto has submitted a bill on the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of addictions including gambling addiction.
The legislation would provide for treatment protocols to follow socio-rehabilitation programmes.
The senator said: “There are many services set up to protect the person affected by psychological and psychiatric diseases in our system.
“Nonetheless, this bill introduces an operational protocol that makes it easier and more timely for people to access the therapeutic and socio-rehabilitative programs prepared by the National Health Service and by private individuals.”