Opposition to slot machines, video poker growing in Italy
Rising addictions to gambling create social, health problems04 November, 16:55
More than 50% of bars across the country now have slot machines available, which critics say makes it too easy for people to become addicted, hurting families in a period of economic crisis. The debate comes as the Lower House prepares to discuss health and social issues related to gambling.
Recent statistics show that 35 million Italians are addicted to this form of gambling, and two million are said to have a "pathological" addiction, critics says.
They note that the amount of money involved in the business is staggering, creating a government reliance on the tax revenues that reached 10 billion euros for only part of 2012.
Reports during the summer showed that the number of registered gambling devices were up 91.2% since 2012, while the number of establishments with slot machines has nearly doubled.
The rise in gambling is widely associated with Italy's crippling recession and rising unemployment rate.
Studies released late last year by trade union confederation CGIL showed a 691% jump between 2005 and 2010 in the number of people seeking professional help to deal with gambling addictions.
In September, the government was defeated when it tried to stop a Senate motion from the Northern League calling for a ban on the opening of new gambling enterprises in Italy for a year.