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GNOSIS 1/2010


Gambling: a timeless vice

articolo redazionale

If history tells us that gambling numbers among its compulsive victims also two Roman emperors of the caliber of Caligula and Nero, it is quite evident that to ‘try one’s luck with gambling’ represents, always, a reality around which a dark and illegal world gravitates, made up of extortion, usury, money re-cycling and whose protagonists are, mostly always, ruthless tormentors of victims, who are often unaware.
A social phenomenon, then, which always draws the particular attention of the Authorities responsible for security, as the following documents from the archives testify.
In the first, dated 1947, the Chief of Police, in recognizing a serious deficiency in the activities against gambling, admonishes his officers for ‘the harmful effects on public morality and family policy’ calling for a concerted and strong action of contrast ‘…especially in this moment of serious economic hardship for the life of the Nation’ in the ‘fight against this malpractice’. A strong warning in which disciplinary measures are promised ‘if the exercise of gambling is discovered within the precinct’.
In the second, of 1948, it is the Questore (Chief of Police) of Rome, who, in denouncing a deficiency in the control activities, not only explicitly calls for a ‘duty bound crusade against gambling’ but specifies that ‘the directives … outlined for the thorough fight against the illegal gambling houses, will remain unchanged and current, and do not admit neither hesitation no halts in their execution’.
Also ‘the bets with fate’ have had to adapt to the times and have assumed, therefore, always more technological dimensions. The impressive qualitative and quantitative scale of the on-line version of the games and the consequent increase of the liquidity circulating on the Internet imposes, therefore, a ‘extremely close supervision’, as is amply shown in our paper in this number of Gnosis, entitled: The business of the game on-line.
An ancient vice, therefore, but always of extreme and serious actuality!

Archivio Centrale dello Stato, Ministero dell’Interno, Gabinetto, 1947.