“After the forced abstinence – it is noted – it is considered necessary to urgently adopt measures to protect public health” as they can produce “a negative impact on health”.
In the year 2019 the volume of money in gambling activities amounted to over 110 billion euros, played by a population of approximately 5.2 million people. To solicit the note, sent to the Regional Health Councilors, the concerns of theObservatory for contrasting the spread of gambling and the phenomenon of serious addiction that, during the meeting of 23 June last, examined the implications of the full restart of the widespread distribution of public games with cash prizes that had about 230 thousand points of sale before the blockade decreed for the pandemic.
In recent months, we read, “the players have had an unexpected remission of the symptom due to the forced interruption of the presence of the game points”. While families “have seen the load of tensions and problems also of an economic nature triggered by the conduct of the family member with gambling addiction diminish”. Now, “the reopening of the entire distribution network of gambling with physical support will cumulate with the increase in online gaming recorded in the months of the lockdown, further accentuating the negative consequences of the jump in the offer envisaged by the first of July”. Hence the “acute concern” denounced by the Observatory.
Directions – To “prevent the serious risks related to reopening”, the indications include, among other things: preventive inspections of the premises used for play with reference to spaces, lighting, ventilation, respect for distances and mask obligations; gradualness in putting the systems back into operation with preventive checks by the ASL; obligation to interrupt at scheduled intervals; suspension of the administration of alcoholic beverages and the use of tobacco “wherever included in the premises with ventilation systems” and “avoiding the darkening of the windows of the areas of the premises used for gambling”.
Covid, “Prevention is more complex in gambling halls” – Gambling activities present “considerable complexity in the prevention of contagion” and “have a medium-high risk classification for the risk of aggregation in indoor venues”, in which alcohol is administered and smoking is allowed. This is what is emphasized again in the note.
The recommendations aim to mitigate the boomerang effect in players with pathological addiction after months of closure, but they also have an eye towards the “maintenance of the caution regime for a possible flare-up of the pandemic”. These exercises, in fact, the note specifies, “take place almost exclusively in confined spaces due to the intrinsic connotation of the game and present a considerable complexity in the prevention of contagion also due to the numerous evidences of use of promiscuous contact surfaces”.
A “further element of complexity” already underlined by the CTS, the note reports, is linked to the activities of workers and customers and consists in the “impossibility of predicting the use of the mask by all those present in the environments, also in relation to the consumption of food and beverages and tobacco smoke that occurs in gaming rooms “.