Italian gambling to protest extreme lockdown enforcements  

Workers of Italy’s embattled gambling sector are ‘united to make their voices heard’ to a new government, demanding that businesses be granted clarity on their prolonged COVID-19 suspensions. 

Uniting under the banner of ‘Legal Gaming Workers, staff of Italian licensed gambling firms will hold joint public protests at Milan’s Piazza del Duomo and Rome’s Piazza del Popolo on 18 February.

The Milan and Rome protest has been approved by all Italian gambling trade bodies and unions, underlining that prolonged gambling venue closures have impacted the livelihoods of 150,00 industry workers and further 400,000 family incomes.

Organisers called for a protest as Italian gambling venues and betting shops near a full-year under lockdown across the majority of Italy’s provinces, enforced as a federal order.

Protestors will demand that the government immediately amends its enforcement rules, allowing betting shops and gambling venues to re-open within Italy’s ‘Covid-mild yellow zone’ regions.  

The protest is reported to have the support of over 170 impacted businesses including bingo halls, betting shops, arcades, bars and equipment suppliers, who have faced months without any government update on the reopening of venues.

In its statement, Legal Gaming Workers stated that it would conduct a “dignified protest for the workers of licensed gaming venues – a sector that contributes €4,5 billion per year in taxes” and that should be recognised as the “last defence against the black market”.

The announcement of the protest coincides with this week’s Parliamentary vote to approve the formation of a new coalition government led by former ECB President Mario Draghi.

Bringing much-needed stability during uncertain times, Italian banks and businesses wait to see how Draghi will draft the spending plans of Italy’s €250 billion Covid relief package guaranteed by the EU – a divisive duty which split Italy’s last coalition government. 

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