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Italy to Declare War on Slot Machines

Italy's PM Matteo Renzi unvelils plans to "take slots away from every commercial space in the country".

Slots players in sunny Italy might be left with no choice but to upgrade their internet connection and browse through , as the country’s Government announced plans to "take slot machines away from all commercial spaces throughout the Peninsula."

In an interview with the magazine Vita, Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi explained that the government decided to start a fight against the diffusion of slots and will release a nationwide plan to ban the machines from all commercial spaces.

"While on the one hand [the machines] provide important tax revenues, on the other hand they entail important social consequences which cannot be ignored as they have been in past years," Renzi stated

If approved, the measure would mark a significant U-turn in the country’s gambling policies. In 2009, the Government controlled by controversial media tycoon and world-famous playboy Silvio Berlusconi used slots to increase tax revenues after the terrible earthquake that hit L’Aquila in Central Italy causing the death of 109 and damages for billions.

Italy's PM Matteo Renzi promises to eradicate slot machines from the country.

Also, in 2011, the Brussels-backed cabinet held by former European Commissioner Mario Monti tried to help the country to avoid a Greece-like financial bankruptcy with a series of measures that included the launch of slots games within Italy’s ring-fenced and State-regulated market.

According to Italy’s gambling authority AAMS, the country counts approximately 390,700 active legal slot machine games with more than 70% of those being located in public spaces such as bars, cafes, and shopping centres.

Statistics from 2015 show that Italy is well ahead of most European member states, as it hosts nearly twice more slots than the U.K. (220,000), Spain (280,000), and Germany (240,000). To date, Italy is reported to have one slot machine for every 155 inhabitants – whereas the numbers for the U.K., Spain, and Germany are of 293, 169, 244 respectively.

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