Milan

Gambling on the rise in recession-hit Italy

Bet-placing establishments up over 30%

Gambling on the rise in recession-hit Italy

Milan, August 21 - Gambling continues to rise in recession-hit Italy, according to a new report from the Milan chamber of commerce. So far in 2013, some 9,300 businesses offer gambling of some kind, up 32.1% on the year. The number of registered gambling devices are up 91.2% since 2012, while the number of establishments with slot machines have nearly doubled. The area where gambling is growing the fastest is the northern Emilia-Romagna region, followed by the central Marche region. The rise in gambling is widely associated with Italy's crippling recession and rising unemployment rate. Studies released late last year by trade union confederation CGIL showed a 691% jump between 2005 and 2010 in the number of people seeking professional help to deal with gambling addictions. A report last year from Italy's Catholic social-service group CEIS found that gambling is Italy's third-largest industry, earning 47.5 billion euros in revenue in 2008. Its study found that 47% of Italy's poor and 66% of the unemployed are known to gamble. The study also showed that 47% of youth aged 15-24 have played video poker and slot machines. Online betting, which tripled in 2011, is growing the fastest, as gamblers spent 1.5 billion euros on the Internet last year. Gambling revenue in Italy was up 28.8% to 23.2 billion in the first quarter of 2012. The government takes a hefty cut of revenue from gambling establishments, while most illegal betting is run by the mafia.

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