For the Lazio Regional Administrative Court it's illegitimate to consider nursery schools to be sensitive places in the vicinity of which gambling halls and betting agencies cannot be opened, as children cannot be considered subject to addiction risk.
The Lazio Regional Administrative Court, on December 4 2020, with a sentence that will certainly provoke conflicting reactions, in acceptance of the appeal presented by a betting room, annulled both the contested provision (decree of the Rome Police Headquarters, prot. Div. III-CAt. 11 ^ / E, dated 09.17.2019), and art. 8 of the Legitimate Play and Ludopathy Regulations, approved by the Deliberation of the Municipal Council of Ardea nr. 28 of 23 May 2019 with which the Municipality of Ardea (Rome) had prevented the opening of the business in question. For the College, in fact, from an examination of the various sources governing the matter of the distances of the gaming rooms with respect to the so-called "Sensitive places" (see art. 7 of Legislative Decree no. 158 of 13 September 2012, converted into law no. 8 November 2012, no. 189; art. 4 paragraph 1 of Lazio Regional Law no. 5/2013.), Emerges in the legislative will to include within the latter the primary and secondary schools, or schools of any grade, youth centers or other institutions attended mainly by young people, as foreseen by the the administrative judges, the national and regional legislation in force has summarized the needs of prevention of gambling addiction among young people and the right of private economic initiative, including, within the minimum distance obligation, schools of any degree, primary or secondary and institutions attended by young people. In particular, the aforementioned Lazio Regional Law refers only to "primary and secondary schools, that is, schools of any grade, youth centers or other institutions attended mainly by young people" and does not include nursery schools. The Municipality of Ardea, on the other hand, in the Regulations subsequently adopted in compliance with the regulatory power conferred on the Municipalities pursuant to art. 4 paragraph 1 bis of the Lazio Regional Law n. 5/2013 aimed at identifying other sensitive places in compliance with state legislation and with the limits of assessing the impact on the territory, urban safety, problems connected with traffic, noise pollution and disturbance of the public peace, had expanded the list of sensitive logos, including also "kindergartens, as well as kindergartens". This choice, where it refers to infant-toddler centers, does not appear to the College to be consistent with the rationale described above underlying the primary, state and regional legislation, in terms of combating gambling addiction, also causing an excessive sacrifice to the principle of freedom of private economic initiative. , in the part in which these educational services are placed on an equal footing with schools and other institutions attended by young people. Moreover, the administrative judges continue, the need to prevent younger subjects from coming into contact with the phenomenon of gambling certainly cannot concern those who go to kindergartens, who cannot be considered "young". Moreover, for the Collegio, even on a strictly legal level, infant-toddler centers cannot be included in schools. In fact, pursuant to art. 2 of law no. 53/2003 "d) the education and training system is divided into kindergarten, in a first cycle which includes primary school and lower secondary school, and in a second cycle which includes the high school system and the education and vocational training system; e) the nursery school, lasting three years, contributes to the education and emotional, psychomotor, cognitive, moral, religious and social development of girls and boys, promoting their potential for relationships, autonomy, creativity, learning, and to ensure effective equality of educational opportunities; respecting the primary educational responsibility of parents, it contributes to the integral formation of girls and boys and, in its didactic and pedagogical autonomy and unity, it achieves educational continuity with the complex of services for children and with primary school ". From the aforementioned regulatory provision it emerges that, while kindergartens are integrated into the education and training system, they can therefore be included at least within the "schools of any grade" taken as a reference by art. 4 of the L.R. Lazio no. 5/2013, the same cannot be said for nursery schools. The latter in fact, also called "nursery schools", in compliance with the institutive law n. 1044 of December 6, 1971, constitute an educational and social service that welcomes children from three months to three years of age, integrating the work of the family, so as to favor a balanced psycho-physical development of the child and are not integrated by the legislation state within the education and training system. Therefore, for the administrative judges, the re-understanding of nursery schools in the category of sensitive places, in addition to exceeding the justifying ratio of the primary state and regional legislation in terms of contrasting gambling addiction, is not justified even in the light of the legislation of the school sector, which it does not allow them to be included in the category of "educational establishments". That's why the aforementioned contested measures has been cancelled. This decision could rekindle the debate on a delicate issue such as gambling addiction and its risks, especially on the younger age people.