Valdarno No-Slot

Valdarno No-Slot

Gambling and usury. Battle against gambling addiction

 

Giuseppe Argiolas, Professor of SUI’s Department of Economics, participated in the initiative held last 10 December in San Giovanni Valdarno: “Our networking will be the greatest resource.”

 

Alarming data has been published on the diffusion of gambling in the Valdarno area: a business of more than 50 million euro revolving around the slot machines, scratchcards, lottery, superenalotto and online gambling. It is an enormous sum for a territory of about 130,000 inhabitants. The profile of the average player is a person aged 36-50, with a high school diploma and married. Women players are on the rise and these prefer the scratchcards, while the men go for the slot machines found in bars. Both cases result in an addiction, serious alienation, and loss of contact with reality, with dramatic impact on family, economic and social relationships.

Due to this, the “Valdarno No-Slot” working group, constituted in the last weeks by representatives of the 13 Municipalities of Arezzo and Florence, has started to cooperate with the various political forces and local associations, raising  people’s awareness  of this serious and complex phenomenon and disseminate useful information to as many people as possible.

In addition, the group proposed a motion to be approved by all the Town Councils of the territory,  for the “drafting of a specific municipal regulation aimed at a unified control of the gambling facilities.” This would be done with the help of the gambling associations together with those associations committed in the battle against gambling. The objective would be to  introduce specific measures to delimit gambling sites and their opening hours, and prohibit the advertising of these places in municipal facilities.”

Valdarno No-Slot held the first public meeting last 10 December in the Headquarters of Geotechnologies of the Siena University in San Giovanni Valdarno. Seated at the round table were not only public administrators but also doctors of Sert (Service for Healthcare Centre for Drug Addiction),who were testimonials of the problem, representatives of the law enforcement corps, and professors. Among the attendees was Giuseppe Argiolas, Sophia Professor of Economics and Business Management who said: “The biggest resource at our disposal will be our working as a network: political, economic, and social groups must all cooperate for a sole objective, so that each citizen will be responsible not only for himself/herself, but also for the common good. It is fundamental to spread a new cultural model… ”

One of the most intense testimonials was given by the singer, Enzo Ghinassi, known by his stage name, Pupo, who overcame his addiction to gambling and now devotes his time to eliminating this wound from society. Other experts underlined the gravity of the problem, and conveyed concrete data and facts. “Listening to these figures – said the head of the Carabinieri law enforcers, Luca Mercadante – made me see the faces of the people we have had to deal with over the last five years here in Valdarno. There are cases in which the recourse to usury was but the last step. First, the gambler starts asking relatives and friends for loans, giving the most various excuses. Then, he starts stealing even at home, and starts using, for example, the ATM cards of a relative. Lastly, he starts stealing inside the gambling hall, and the seriousness of the crime grows, with the sole objective of getting money and prolonging his own agony."

What is becoming a real social plague urgently calls for the consolidation of the best resources available from the social and cultural networks in the territory, besides developing  policies for its prevention and jointly undertaking information and educational paths. In all these endeavors, also Sophia University Institute confirmed its own commitment to cooperate. Only a vast and social workshop open to the contribution of all the components of society will be able to propose a new way of living. Social action should offer a new model of cooperative and responsible coexistence that is attentive to the weaker strata of society often struck by false horizons of material well-being in availing of their fundamental rights to a fully human existence.

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