The world may be currently stuck in the midst of a global economic recession, but that doesn’t appear to have stopped the Italians from ploughing billions of Euros into gambling.
According to the latest Italy gambling news, despite the country facing economic ruin, and seeking help from the European Union, Italian gamblers have still managed to spend more money gambling than any other country in the world, bar the United States.
There have been some subtle changes to the Italian gambling laws, which have seen a few more licenses dished out to new prospective companies interested in setting up shop in Italy, but this is relatively recent operation, and so the 79.9 billion Euros the Italians gambled last year, must largely be down to private land-based casinos, the statistics show.
Bingo Re, for instance is Europe’s biggest gambling arcade, and is located in Rome. With hundreds of slot machines, the gamers feel quite at ease with espresso, food and drinks available in the establishment, catering for the hardcore gamers needs and ensuring that they doesn’t have to move anywhere throughout their gambling day, or evening.
Massimo Ruta, director of Italian operations at Spanish owned company Codere, which runs Bingo Re has insisted that: “it’s been a record year for us, the crisis has put many of our clients in a difficult situation but gambling is part of human nature. It’s difficult to do without it,”
Having risen dramatically since 2000, when the reported figure for gambling revenue barely hit EUR 14 billion, the Bingo Re has seen its attendance figures rocket too. The company behind it, Codere operates nearly 3,500 slot machines in fourteen Italian arcades, netting approximately EUR 224m from Italian gamblers alone.
Whilst online casinos in Italy will no doubt contribute greatly to that total sum of EUR 79.9 billion, it is still felt that the land based arcades are more attractive to potential gamblers. “People are attracted to shiny things.” Mr. Ruta added.
At a time when the internet betting licensing laws have just been altered, there is stiff opposition from the Catholic Church in Italy however. Both the Church and anti-gambling campaigners feel that the risk of addiction is too great a threat to dip into the massive revenue that gambling would bring a country, who have mountains of debt piled up.
Renato Balduzzi, the Italian Health Minister feels that people are turning to gambling due to the recession, and Matteo Iori who runs a gambling recovery centre in the Reggio Emilia region, agrees with him. “People are gambling more during the crisis, the prospect of a financial reward, the desire to change one’s life pushes people to play. The state is encouraging gambling but is failing to protect the most vulnerable people.”
Mr. Ruta however is condemning the criticism of the anti-gambling campaigners, as he believes the huge tax income, and the fact that his arcade no employs over 1,100 people, a 10% rise on the previous year, far outweighs any “worries” the Church or similar ministers and campaigners may have.