Italians are passionate people who love life and live it to the fullest as anyone who has attended an Italian wedding would know. They also like to gamble on many things and participate in the games with lots of drama.
The town of Pavia, Italy which is renowned for its universities and a celebrated Renaissance monastery, the Lombardy town approximately 25 miles south of Milan has recently earned another, distinction as the gambling capital of Italy. By some accounts, there is one slot machine or Video Lottery Terminal for every 104 of the city's 68,300 residents.
Since lawmakers significantly relaxed regulation of the gambling industry a decade ago there has been a significant increase in problems associated with gambling in all its forms not only in Pavia but in other parts of Italy. Last October saw residents of Lombardy to become the sixth region to pass legislation to reduce gambling and help addicted punters.
Simon Feder a psychologist has created a ''no slot'' protest movement in Pavia which has plans to ban the machines from public areas. ''It is an anti-economy that impoverishes because it doesn't spread money around, it just gobbles it up.''
Mr. Fiasco commented, ''There's no longer a distinction between gambling and life,'' Fiasco added, ''There is no separate space for gambling -- it is everywhere.'' The Federal government, has come to depend on revenues from gambling amounting to as much as $11 billion per year.
A 2012 study by the University of Rome revealed that an estimated 790,000 Italians are at risk of some gambling addiction, as defined by two internationally recognized base lines. The local governments are dealing with the fall out of increased gambling addiction.
''People used to play for passion; you didn't ruin yourself. Now it's become a disease,'' said one cafe owner, who is trying to remove some of the licensed machines in his coffee bar. There was no mention of online gambling problems in Italy although it is expected that stats will soon emerge.