Workers from the gambling sector in Italy, united under a “Legal Gaming Workers” banner, will protest next week. Protesting in Milan and Rome on Thursday next week, the workers will urge the government to ease the COVID-19 restrictions allowing the reopening of gambling venues.
Gaming Workers in Italy to Protest Next Week Thursday
Employees of legal gambling operators in Italy are planning a public protest on February 18. The workers are united under the banner of “Legal Gaming Workers“. They will protest simultaneously at Milan’s Piazza del Duomo and Rome’s Piazza del Popolo. The main reason for the protests is the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions which keep gambling venues closed.
Trade associations and unions have expressed support for the protests already. Furthermore, the unions outlined that the prolonged closure of the gambling venues has impacted more than 150,000 people in the industry. Overall, more than 400,000 people in total may be affected by the closures, unions alarmed.
The protestors’ main goal is for the Italian government to ease the COVID-19 restrictions, allowing gambling venues to reopen in “Yellow” zones as per the country’s COVID-zone markers. The Legal Gaming Workers stressed in a statement that the licensed gaming sector contributes €4,5 billion in taxes yearly. Furthermore, the protestors said that the sector represents the “most effective defense” against illegal gambling.
More Than 170 Businesses to Support the Protest
It is expected for the protests next week to unite more than 170 businesses impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions. Besides betting shops and gambling venues, it is expected that employees from bingos, arcades, bars, and entertainment businesses to join.
Focusing on the lockdown, by now, the industry was closed for 7 months including the first lockdown. In other words, the closures have affected the gambling venues for more than 210 days. Furthermore, one of the factors which fueled the protests is the ongoing uncertainty on when the gambling venues would be allowed to reopen for visitors.
In contrast to the retail sector’s difficulties, Italy’s online gambling market outperformed in December 2020. Numbers released by Ficom Leisure for the news outlet iGB earlier this week outlined that the industry hit €359 million in gross gaming revenue in December. Year-on-year comparison, this marked an 86% increase.