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slot machines

According to latest available data, in Italy there are 414.158 slots – besides thousands of irregular ones – i.e. one every 143 inhabitants: in the United States there is one every 372, in Germany one every 261 inhabitants. A business worth millions of euros, which brings a lot of money into the coffers of the State taking them away from Italian families. The gambling daemon ruins people, corrodes their hearts and minds, creates expectations which are constantly disappointed. And it does not attack only directly, i.e. harming those who are a victim of it, but works negatively also elsewhere. Starting from family members, affected as well by the harmful consequences of gambling addiction. And by all those people who have been corrupted by the money involved in this business.

There are cases when even guardians of order themselves transform from guards into thieves. Let us make no mistake, rotten apples in a system which is substantially (thankfully) healthy, where thousands of colleagues work and act in an entirely  correct manner towards the institutions and the citizens. But there are also two financiers in charge of controlling and sequestering slots who have decided to steal the money of the unfortunate players collecting illegally.

An ugly story which has been described well in the sentence 215/2015, one of the last ones the Court of Auditors, judicial section of the Lombardy region, pronounced last year. “Misappropriation of funds – reads the judicial ruling – refers to the activities performed by the two soldiers in Seregno, where, as the holder declared to s.i.t., the aforementioned have picked up the coins contained by the slots, for an amount of about 600 euros, without providing to their confiscation, as it was arranged by the Judicial Authority”. A career ruined for a few pennies. All lost: a steady job, honor, the future. For themselves and, unfortunately, for their families. Here is what can lead the binomial game/money.

Not to mention the social impact of seeing a financier behave like one of the scoundrels he is supposed to combat. “The NEWS PRESS – according to the judges – are only one element among many others to evaluate the damage to the image (…). We cannot but consider also the projection of the injured image itself in the administration. We cannot see, thus, in what consists the substantial difference, for purposes considered, between the vastness of the echo of the whole affair which involved the defendant, a story considerably conveyed by the media, and the narrower one which, however, strikes the sense of honor and pride of belonging to the body of the Revenue Guard Corps of the many soldiers who exercise with dignity and sense of duty the functions delegated to them”.

Yet, while being condemned by the State as a source of social danger, gambling is also encouraged. An atavistic catch 22 situation: in the law of stability have been inserted, to rake money, 22,000 more “gambling points”, i.e. gambling rooms or reserved areas in public spaces. Palazzo Chigi’s press release inserts the item among the “resources” which should sustain the accounts of the Revenue Guard Corps six entries, including two important to our topic: “Tax on gambling” and “Gambling(new races)”. Expected profits: about 500 million. The handlers pay them with taxes, but they profit from the weaknesses of people, as if it were a devastating and ruthless food chain.

The AAMS’ site (Agency of the customs and monopolies) reads: “The autonomous administration of the State monopolies is the guarantor of legality and security in terms of equipment and machinery for fun and entertainment. It ensures the transparency of gambling by means of verification of compliance with the regulatory requirements of the appliances and of their operational mode. The Administration wants to enhance the social role of gambling, desire to have fun serenely, moderation and sense of responsibility. Fixing the rules and, at the same time, enforcing them, means educating to gambling by valorising the function of social aggregation, of moment of creativity and communication between individuals.”

A slap in the face of intelligence, mocking nonsense: we do not understand, in fact, what kind of “social aggregation” and “communication between individuals” there may be in keeping the eyes of a sole person glued to a screen waiting for a lucky strike.  Unless by saying “social” we mean… the recovery communities for gambling addicts.

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