Ever since Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi introduced spending cuts to reduce regional funding in hopes of lowering the country’s budget deficit, many smaller towns have been looking for new sources of income. Melito, near Naples, has turned to internet gambling in Italy, hoping to hit the jackpot.
Every week, town administrators are taking 15 euros from the Mayor’s salary, and using it to buy tickets for Italy’s Superenalotto game, which can be played by either buying paper tickets or by picking numbers online. Each week, Melito will play the same numbers, which have been chosen strategically. Their guesses include 33, which stands for the mayor, 42 for city hall, 72 for “wonder,” and 90 for “the people.” The other two numbers are being kept a secret.
The lottery is now approaching 127 million euros, and the town believes their 800-euro-per-year investment is definitely worthwhile. It’s cheaper, they say, than selling bonds and buying derivatives to earn cash, which many other Italian municipalities are doing.
If the town of Melito wins the jackpot, they intend to use the money to pay for taxes, essentially turning the town into a tax-free haven for its residents.
While this Superenalotto is currently one of the only legal places to gamble online in the country, soon there will be a wide range of online gambling sites in Italy to choose from. Legislators are in the process of solidifying plans to legalize and regulate internet gambling in the country, and while there have been some bumps in the road in recent months, they hope to have the necessary changes made to Italian gambling laws by the end of the year.