Gambling meets the Black Swan. Epistemological and institutional problems
Maurizio Fiasco

This canvas by Gigi Gatti (Gazzola, Piacenza, Italy, 1955) evokes the psychological and existential suspension we experienced during the months of the lock down due to the covid-19. The feeling of strange and complex familiarity of the artist’s works was observed. We project that call to empathy, to the task to which the therapist awaits, if possible, with “caring and irresistible” feelings.

Gambling meets the Black Swan.

Epistemological and institutional problems

by Maurizio Fiasco

1. Universal (pandemic) and Particular (gambling hazard). 2. Critical challenges for scientific thinking of addiction. 3. Isolation, fear, thoughts in the long weeks of “I’m staying at home”. Testimonials. 4 Proposed scientific framework for an epistemology on contemporary gambling, society, individual responsibility. 5. Problem of gambling or focus on the pathological player? 6. Passatism and “pearls of wisdom” on the Problematic Game. 7. The logical procedure of axioms. 8. Addiction as outcome of business strategies vs outdated knowledge of the clinic specialists. 9. Rethinking the psycho-social and clinical approaches in contemporary conditions. 10. Industrial gambling as an abuse of science and technology acquisitions. 11. Ending the State’s dependency to “Sin taxes”

The total health emergency for Coronavirus, among its multiple side effects, has had an impact also on the possibility of playing games for money; that is games played with money and for profit through a megamachine with widely distributed terminals. In other words, not as stated by the Interpretation of the Supreme Court of Justice[1], since drastic measures have been taken to deal with the pandemic[2], these have also had an effect on gambling, ultimately stopping much of this practice, which is otherwise widespread in Italy. A sudden halt of the supporting physical infrastructures, since every “physical” door to gambling has been locked for many weeks, due to the country’s lockdown. Among the few types of gambling spared by absolute bans during the nation-wide lockdown was the sale of the coupons of the so-called “instant lotteries”, known under the “Gratta e Vinci” (“Scratch and Win”) name. In general, however, the capillary and insistent pressure to induce gambling money, which was exercised daily, and at all hours, by as many as 240 thousand points of distribution of gambling, was blocked.

The shock of the lockdown forced 265,000 slot machines in coffee/tobacco shops to cease operating, 58,000 VLTs (which are nothing more than slot machines, but in gaming rooms) caused to shut down over nine thousand sports betting box offices and to leave in stand-by another 120 thousand points of sale. However all this has not changed much the fate of the “traditional” or “historical” type of gambling. These types, waste from the past, were already in bad conditions prior to the Covid19 pandemic. For at least five years before, in fact, hippodromes, places for the epic of betting on horse races, had been closed due to the collapse of their revenues. First hippodromes were abandoned by the simple goers, then by the undergrowth of bettors similar to the characters of the cult film “Horse fever”.

Casinos had also plunged into an almost comatose state. All of them: from the Casino of the Vallée to the coast of Sanremo, passing through Venice and arriving at the Campione d’Italia establishment, the largest European gambling infrastructure. Campione d’Italia closed due to bankruptcy, as established by the court in July 2018. This Casino was impossible to be saved, despite the efforts of the prefectoral commissariats and the search for state subsidies. There was therefore no need for Covid 19 for the failure of the Temples of the Belle Époque of gambling. Collapsed together with all their set of symbolisms around “Luck”. The Blindfolded Goddess had also been ostracized, and therefore this symbol had forcibly disappeared: with the disappearance of images, symbols and fantastic experiences, also known to the general public for literary narratives or for the abundant “genre” film production.

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Cordiali Saluti. Antonio Grassi

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