The Italian government has introduced legislation designed to crack down on the amount of gambling and gaming-related advertising in the country, with the Deputy Prime Minister vowing to replace slot machines with pinballs.
The proposed new laws are contained in the Decreto Dignità (Dignity Decree) – a package of employment and social reforms which was passed by Italy’s upper house last week.  The Decree proposes an outright ban on gambling advertising and sponsorship across all media platforms and is seen as just the start of a much wider-ranging series of measure which could cut the number of licensed gambling institutions in half, put limits on the amount of time and money players can spend in any one session, provide greater powers to the authorities to monitor and enforce compliance, and introduce a combined education and enforcement programme to reduce incidences of problem gambling.
Posted on social media after the vote was passed, Deputy Prime Minister, leader of the Five Star Movement (M5S) party and Minister of Economic Development, Labour and Social Policies, Luigi Di Maio pledged to replace “slots with pinball machines which harm no-one”, asking his followers to “Raise your hand if you agree.”
While pinball is unlikely to raise the kind of income generated by slot machines and the advertising ban is likely to face strong opposition before it becomes law on 1st January, 2019, the Government’s intentions to rein-in gambling of all kinds within the country are clear.
It’s also encouraging to see pinball being promoted as the clean, wholesome pastime and a healthier alternative to gambling, helping to relegate the game’s shadier reputation in the US to the dustbin of history.