Italy’s gambling sector has been placed on lockdown until November 24 after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed an ‘emergency decree’ late on Sunday. The move was undertaken to avoid a further wave of the COVID-19 pandemic devastating the country’s emergency services.
Sanctioning a raft of lockdown orders, the Italian government pointed to a sharp rise in new infections which had reached 25,000 daily by Wednesday last week, with a further 1,500 new patients being treated in intensive care units.
From Monday, Italian bars and restaurants have been ordered to close from 6pm on weekdays, with full closures on Sunday, as Italians are ordered not to travel outside of their local municipalities.
Branded as non-essential businesses by the Decree, Italy’s betting shops, arcades and bingo halls have been ordered to shut down until November 24.
Lotto and SuperEnalotto ticket purchases will be the only retail vertical available to Italian consumers, at stores, kiosks and tobacconists that can ensure social distancing.
Publishing its interim statement, Italy’s Ministry of Finance noted that the 100-day mandatory closure of all gambling venues had cost the government €2bn in lost tax earnings.
Italian gambling’s main trade bodies Sapar, As.Tro and Acadi immediately lambasted Conte’s orders, stating that no gaming venue had registered an outbreak of COVID-19, after all businesses had redesigned their venues/stores to be COVID-19 secure.
Tracking Italy’s gaming venues and machine performance, Acadi estimates that in 2020 operators have lost a total of €1.8bn in revenues and will carry total losses of €700m by the end of November trading.
Italian retail, leisure and hospitality businesses are currently awaiting from the Conte government to unveil its latest relief package for businesses penalised by the latest coronavirus restrictions as it scrambles to quell growing social unrest.