A report from Lottomatica this week indicated that illegal gambling within Italy rose by more than 50% during the Covid-19 pandemic and currently has a market value in excess of €18 billion.
The report was generated by operator Lottomatica and presented to the Italian Senate earlier in the week. The operator claimed that if illegal gambling is left unchecked it could top €20 billion by the end of the year.
Illegal betting surged during the pandemic due to betting venues being shuttered for safety concerns. People still had the desire to gamble and went elsewhere. The study revealed that an underground betting den was discovered roughly every three days and between January 2020 and April 2021, there were 145 investigations into illegal gambling and 1,000 people reported to the police.
83.6% of survey respondents believe the Italian government should take responsibility for regulating the gambling market and protect gamblers. 59.8% think that aggressive sanctions would push the popularity of illegal gambling. 28.9% think banning gambling as a whole would be beneficial.
Regarding the study Senator Mauro Maria Marino said, "We need to focus on the quality of regulation and standardise sectoral legislation at national level, thus overcoming the overlap of many rules that conflict with each other.
"In this sense, there are some aspects to confront in order to bring about a real reform of the sector - in particular the issues of online gaming, illegal gambling, and the overall size of the gambling sector which was greatly affected by closures during Covid."