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Italian Government: the Biggest Gamblers (or: money doesn’t smell)

Italy is a strange country. The State cares of public health by telling everybody that “smoke kills”, while still holds the legal monopoly in the tobacco manufacturing market.

Following the same “we care” apprach, online gambling has been labeled as THE eviliest thing, able to corrupt young generations, waste worker wages, endanger the public security. Criminal court everywhere in Italy are full of trials where the defendants are charged to having organised “illegal betting services” by opening internet points from where people was privately playing with regular British and other EU-based bookmakers.

Despite the EU Court of Justice said that Italy was wrong in discriminating legally established EU bookmakers, the Corte di cassazione – Italian Supreme Court – ruled that (online) gambling must be punished since endagers the Order of the State. But all of a sudden, these concerns disappeared.

Legge finanziaria 2007 “slightly” amends sect. 38 of Decree 223/2006 by legalising – with a few restrictions – the very same online gaming activities that up to a few weeks before were accused of being “families disgregator”. How was that possible?

Easy: just pay the Government a 3% “gambling tax” on every bet, and all the problems and concerns just disappear. At the end of the day – I can imagine the politicians’ defense – we did our job: we told you not to play. If you don’t follow our advice…the choice is yours!

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