Italy Locks Down Gambling Until Late November
Italy is shutting down yet again due to COVID-19, with gambling facilities unable to offer services until at least late November.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused businesses around the world to struggle. Businesses of all types have been affected including casinos, betting shops and bingo halls. Because the virus is so easily transferable and people are not social distancing or wearing masks on a regular basis, the virus continues to be an issue. In Italy, another lockdown is set to begin next week with gambling facilities included in the closed businesses.
Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte signed an emergency decree on Sunday that enforced a lockdown in the country. The goal is to avoid another wave of the virus sweeping across the country, affecting the ability of the emergency services to function properly.
Sanctioning several lockdown orders, the government said it was the sharp rise in cases that led to the decision. Daily totals as of last week reached 25,000, with an additional 1,500 new patients placed in intensive care.
Starting on Monday, bars and restaurants in Italy will close on 6pm on weekdays. On Sunday they will be completely closed and Italian residents are not to travel outside their local area. Non-essential businesses like betting shops, bingo halls and arcades are to shut down until November 24. These venues are not allowed to function at all at this time.
For players, tickets for the Lotto and SuperEnlotto can be purchased, but only via retail at stores, tobacco shops or kiosks. This is being done to help with social distancing needs.
Huge Hit to the Gambling Industry
The gambling industry in Italy has been hit hard with the coronavirus lockdown in the past and will be in the future. In an interim statement, the Ministry of Finance for Italy stated that the 100-day mandatory closure of gambling facilities in the county cost €2 billion in taxes.
The decision to shut down the venues was blasted by both Acadi and Sapar As.Tro. the main trade bodies of the gambling market in Italy say that not a single venue that offers gaming has registered an outbreak of the viruses. The businesses restricted their facilities so they would be COVID-19 secure upon reopening.
According to Acadi, operators in the region have lost around €180 billion in revenues due to the 2020 pandemic. They will carry additional losses of €700 million by the end of trading in November. Right now, retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses are waiting to see what the government will provide via a relief package to help out during this time of closure.
The businesses are trying to stay afloat as they are operating under limitations or not operating at all due to closure. With this closure looming, the businesses will need help more than ever if they are to keep employees on payroll and stay in business in general.
Similar instances are happening across the country when it comes to gambling facilities. In the US, the number of COVID-19 positive cases are increasing with daily totals on a quick rise. Governor Steve Sisolak of Nevada has already hinted that casinos may have to shut down again if people in the state do not adhere to the mask mandate.
People in the US as well as in other countries seem to be growing weary of the restrictions and not adhering to protocols like mask wearing and social distancing. Because of this, individual states may be forced to shut down non-essential businesses again like they did in March, which would be detrimental to the industry as well as states and towns that rely on funds provided by the gaming operators. Hopefully, it will not come to that but as the numbers increase, something has to be done to protect the public.