Public gaming in the Lazio Region: common sense prevails
By Eurispes’ Gaming Legality and Pathology Observatory.
Like other regions, Lazio has taken action to reshape the Public Gaming Law, originally enacted in 2013. The Games, Legality and Pathologies Observatory of Eurispes, produced an organic research study on the topic in 2019, covering the regional territory itself. Following what has been expressed for other areas such as Puglia, Piedmont and Sardinia, the Observatory can only acknowledge that Lazio, too, is now aware of the critical issues and technical problems that accompany the application of the “distance meter” tool. While not abolishing it altogether, it has changed its range (from 500 to 250 meters from so-called “sensitive places”), exempting existing legal gaming establishments from the regulatory application.
This common sense decision takes the risk away from the fact that compression of legal gaming corresponds to a widening of the area of illegality which, as reported by the Observatory in all the territorial research carried out, represents a parallel market always ready to “replace” the legal offer. To the latter, the Lazio Legislature has dedicated some new operational requirements on whose effectiveness will need to be monitored to combat pathological addictions.
At the same time, the legislative change avoids the closure of businesses in the sector, which would have been inevitable had the original provisions of the 2013 Regional Law come into force, with consequent job losses: according to data released by trade associations, the employment fallout would have affected about 13,000 workers.
The guidelines expressed by the regional legislators embody even more the need and prospect for an organic restructuring of the sector. In this respect, it is particularly noteworthy the attention that the Lazio Region has given to the issue of social and health care provision for citizens who manifest problematic and/or pathological dynamics translating into gambling addiction.
As the Eurispes Observatory has already observed on many occasions, the current level of offer of the Regionally dependent Serd is absolutely unsatisfactory and, in the case of Lazio, practically absent. Therefore, it is advisable that the focus and, hopefully, resources are devoted to treatment initiatives, but also to prevention through awareness campaigns: a realistic scope for intervention targeting the most fragile segments of the population.