Italy’s gambling sector has secured no reprieve from a new government, as the office of Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced that gambling venues will remain in lockdown until a further review scheduled for 6 April.
Draghi, who was sworn in as Italy’s new Prime Minister on 13 February following the collapse of the former DP-5Star coalition government, is reported to have extended a federal decree maintaining the lockdown of land-based gambling venues for a further month.
The decision will see the country’s betting shops, arcades, gaming halls, casinos and bingo venues kept under lockdown for a full year, a devastating outcome for Italian gambling incumbents.
Last month, Italy’s gambling trade unions held public protests in Milan and Rome, urging for the government to lift its lockdown restrictions that were impacting 150,00 industry workers and the incomes of a further 400,000 families.
Italian betting leadership had urged Draghi’s office to lift venue restrictions across Italian provinces ‘yellow zones’ in which COVID infection rates were considered to be mild.
With many businesses reaching breaking point, industry trade body ‘Legal Gaming Workers’ lambasted the former coalition government for maintaining a sector that contributes ‘€4.5 billion directly to Italy’s treasury in the dark’.
Furthermore, as wider hospitality and leisure venues have reopened across provinces, Italian gambling retailers have been provided no information with regards to their opening, as they continue under a federally enforced lockdown order.
Italian businesses currently await to see how Draghi will draft the €250 billion COVID relief package guaranteed by the EU – a duty which split Italy’s last coalition government.