Italian government officials have imposed further lockdown restrictions on the country, putting the brakes on the recovery of the local casino industry. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that Italy would go into a second lockdown period until the November 24.
The move is a blow to the country’s casino and gaming industry as they struggle to stage an economic recovery in the last quarter of 2020. The restrictions include the full closure of bars and restaurants until 6:00 pm on weekdays, and full closures on Sundays. Businesses deemed to be non-essential have also been instructed to shut-down by the government.
Despite the restrictions, the gaming industry is still afloat; local residents can purchase lotto tickets at local outlets under strict social distancing guidelines.
Italian gaming operators have expressed their discontent with the latest lockdown rules. The main trade bodies for the gambling industry in Italy have gone on the offensive, lobbying for a swift end to the lockdown in local media outlets.
Gaming industry leaders in Italy have cited the strict biosecurity protocols that local retailers and operators have imposed on customers. No cases of COVID-19 have been reported at gambling venues for several weeks across Italy.
The latest lockdown will have some swift economic repercussions for the Italian gambling industry. It’s been reported across Italian news outlets that the gambling industry is facing a loss of 2.1 billion USD as a result of the latest lockdown measures.
The latest lockdown moves are expected to push local customers towards the black and grey markets. The move to ban gambling has led to political infighting across both sides of politics in the Italian parliament for the last 12 months.
In June, the Financial Times reported that Forza Italia politician Andrea Ruggeri opposed the measures, arguing that the enforced closure will push locals towards illegal gambling. “There is a market for gambling activities in Italy. It is legal and it is lucrative for the state.” Every other business has reopened. Keeping gambling activities shut [has allowed] illegal activities to thrive.”
The new lockdown measures come as Italy struggles to contain a second wave of COVID-19 with the virus making a strong reappearance across much of Western Europe