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Talking Money Matters with Renzi and Padoan

Judith Harris (October 21, 2015)
Italy's youthful Premier Matteo Renzi and his more mature Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan are talking money. On the agenda: a pending law that cuts property taxes, raises the cash limit for money transfers, and offers part-time jobs to those waiting for pensions that don't come. But there are also quarrels about public income deriving from gambling.

Also under heated public debate is the fact that the government makes money from gambling. In Italy gaming is possible in 22,000 places, from casinos and bingo halls to simple slot machines tucked into a cafe corner. Many Italians object to the fact that the state makes money from what they consider a vice, and an encouragement to the weaker members of the public to become betting addicts. Gambling has been described as Italy's third biggest industry, involving at least $100 billion and giving employment to 120,000. According to one survey, 55% of those playing, even occasionally, fall below the poverty line.

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