Gambling in Italy
Italian Casino Betting and Gaming Laws
By Reno Rollins
Italian gambling has influenced the betting laws and betting customs in most of Western Europe and North America, which has in turn changed the way people gamble worldwide.
Importance of Italy to the Gambling World
No other country has done more for the development of gambling than Italy. According to historical accounts, the Italians adopted the fortunetelling cards of the invading Saracens and first used them for gambling.
Baccarat was also invented in Italy, most likely in the latter stages of the 15th century, and the lottery appeared in 1530 and would later evolve into bingo. And the earliest examples of casinos appeared in Venice in 1726, as they were used by the Venetian nobility to discuss business and engage in all manner of debauchery.
Growth of Gambling in Italy
Until the last few years, gambling was generally viewed in a very negative light by Italian citizens. With the mafia being directly tied to illegal gambling clubs, residents viewed the pastime as something to be avoided. In fact, Italian schools have been known to run programs against gambling and hold classroom lectures about the evils associated with the activity.
While casinos, horse racing and other gambling activities are legal, they have been slow to catch on in the country. This has changed over time, but the Italian government has seemingly fought it every step of the way.
In recent years, Italy also attempted to ban all IP addresses associated with online gambling sites. When this failed, the Italian government attempted to create an exclusive online poker room.
But as of January 1st, 2007, Italy has done an about-face and made it legal for any Italian citizen to gamble online. They also recently announced a willingness to issue over 17,000 gambling licenses which would cover casinos, online gambling companies and betting stations.
With these changes in attitude, Italy’s gaming market is expected to increase by 64% by 2010. The interactive gambling market in the country is also expected to achieve an increase of around 240% by 2010.
With a minimum gambling age of 18, the country’s gaming industry has also been bolstered by the youth culture. Bingo has become especially popular in recent years, with trendy youths rubbing elbows with elderly citizens at the local bingo hall.
Italian Horse Racing
Horse racing is available throughout Italy, and it can also be wagered on through various legal sports books. The most famous race in the country is the Palio di Siena, which is held twice a year on July 2nd and August 16th in Siena. Dog racing was declared illegal by the Italian Green Party in May of 2002.
Notable horse tracks include:
Online Gambling in Italy
The government of Italy tried their best to keep online gambling out of their country. They even went so far as to prosecute those who accepted bets without first receiving authorization from the authorities. This did not hold up, however, and a European Union court ruled that Italy could not bar gambling companies from other European Union nations from conducting business with citizens of Italy.
Since online gambling was made legal in the country, numerous casinos and sports books have started serving the Internet needs of their Italian customers. And with the United States passing the UIGEA into law, more and more citizens have flocked to take advantage of the services.
Sports Betting in Italy
Numerous sports betting services are available throughout the country. Two of the largest, William Hill and Ladbrokes have licenses to take wagers over the phone and the Internet. In addition, they have also established betting centers across Italy, usually located in gaming parlors, newsstands, coffee shops and bars.
Bingo in Italy
Bingo was born in Italy around five centuries ago. It started as the lottery and was then adopted into its current form by an American looking for new ways to entertain the masses. While the game was illegal in Italy for many years, it has recently become a trendy (and allowable) pastime. Bingo salons dot the country, and their cash prizes and high-tech video screens have made the game popular with young and old alike.
The Italian Lottery
The lottery was first launched in Italy after its unification in 1530. Since then, drawings have been held every Saturday, and the government rakes in billions of dollars every year.
United Kingdom Gambling
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