“Action against problem gambling will be reinforced” – proclaims the new program of the ‘centrist left’ coalition cabinet led by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, formed by the 5Star Movement and Italy’s Democratic Party (DP).
Following intense debate and opposition by former coalition incumbent Lega, Italy avoids thus far a further constitutional crisis, as Rome’s lower house approves the formation of yet another ‘uneasy coalition’.
The cabinet led by Conte sees former MEP Professor Roberto Gualtieri (DP) appointed Minister of the Economy and Finance, heading the department tasked with regulatory oversight of the Italian gambling sector.
Meanwhile, Luigi Di Maio – leader of 5Star and author of the Dignity Decree’s anti-gambling mandate – will serve Conte as Italy’s Foreign Secretary.
Statements released by DP back 5Stars anti-gambling stance, with the fight against gambling addiction marked as one of the few common grounds shared by the coalition government.
Industry leadership eagerly awaits for 5Star-DP’s submission of its first co-authored financial plan, which is scheduled to be put forward to Parliament on 27 September.
It is expected to shed further insight on ‘unresolved industry issues’, as Italian stakeholders focus on whether Italy’s new government will pursue with further Decree reforms on gambling, which have been contested by a number of governmental agencies.
DP’s actions will be monitored closely by Italian betting stakeholders to assess whether Italy’s traditional left-wing turns its back on gambling reforms undertaken during DP’s last premiership.
Whilst in office, DP worked hard to reach an agreement with local authorities to reorganise the distribution of gaming machines across national provinces – a directive which saw gaming points halved.
However, a critical 5Star rejected DPs land-based reforms with no qualms, moving to uphold the Dignity Decree’s social mandate, but offering no alternative proposals on gaming machine deployments.
This uncertainty has led to an aggravated scenario, witnessed through a high number of gambling-related disputes within the nation’s administrative courts, with sector stakeholders left unprotected by a lack of uniformed regional laws and oversight.
With regards to problem gambling, Italian betting turns its attention to Health Minister Teresa Bellanova (DP), who is expected to re-open Italy’s ‘Observatory on Problem Gambling’ – a research and treatment foundation maintained by Milan’s Technology University and state auditor SOGEI.
A popular and well-supported initiative, the foundation was terminated by the Lega-5Star coalition following its last meeting on 16 April. Betting stakeholders expect the Observatory to be reinstated by the Italian government if it aims to be serious on tackling problem gambling concerns.
The final reform on Italian gambling’s agenda relates to whether the Ministry of the Interior will allow the province of Como to restore the two state-owned casinos operated by bankrupt Casinò di Campione.
Italy’s Ministry of the Interior will be led by former Milan Prefect Luciana Lamorgese (DP), who has stated that she will work with Campione d’Italia and local officials seeking feasible solutions in restructuring Como’s largest employer.
As a new left-wing coalition takes shape, the Italian public will assess whether its new government are coherent in business and fiscal policy, countering the eminent threat of Matteo Salvini’s populist Lega standing on the side-lines calling for a general election.
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