Slots, Administrative Court of Lombardy, No prohibition but Yes regulation for particular places and times of the day
"It does not seem unreasonable or disproportionate to impose restrictions on economic activities that are scientifically recognized as dangerous to health, precisely because it is not a question of introducing a sort of 'prohibition', which could have adverse effects on the very level of health protection, nor of a generalized prohibition, but of regulation in correspondence with particular places and particular time bands with the highest usability of gaming exercises"
With these reasons, the Lombardy Regional Administrative Court - Section One rejected the appeal filed against the Municipality of Desio (MB) by the manager of a bar, inside which three AWP entertainment machines had been installed. With the appeal, the aforementioned operator asked for the cancellation of the trade union ordinance no. 456 of 20.11.2018 and no. 478 of 7.12.2018 concerning the "Rules of operation of the machines with cash prizes installed in the premises exclusively or mainly authorized for the exercise of lawful games (amusement arcades), as well as those installed in the establishments authorized to lawful game in a subordinate and / or ancillary way with respect to the main activity (food and beverage administration establishments, commercial establishments, private clubs, etc.) "and the approved" Municipal Regulations for amusement arcades and the installation of gaming equipment " by the Municipal Council of Desio with the provision n. 51 of 19.12.2011. With the aforementioned ordinances, in fact, the Mayor of the Municipality of Desio had ordered the interruption of the operating hours of the "game exercised through mechanical devices and automatic, semi-automatic and electronic entertainment devices referred to in paragraphs 5, 6 and 7 of art . 110 of the TULPS and the game through devices connected to each other, in real time, to the network and to a central server in the room where they are installed, which constantly communicates with a centralized national server that manages the winnings ". In essence, the aforementioned Administration, with these ordinances, recalling the "Municipal Regulations for arcades and the installation of gaming machines" approved on 19 December 2011, had limited the operating hours of the machines with cash prizes present on its territory, by arranging the interruption of the game for 3 daily time slots of 2 hours each, starting from 9.30 to 11.30, from 16.00 to 18.00 and from 21.00 to 23.00, under penalty of application of the administrative sanction provided for by art. 9 and 17 bis of the TULPS and the disqualification measure referred to in art. 17 ter. The Lombardy Regional Administrative Court deemed all the grounds for appeal unfounded as the contested orders "refer to what was ascertained by the State Monopoly Administration about the 6% increase in the number of players in the Desio area compared to 2015. increased over the years, as evidenced by the documentation filed in court by the Municipality .... It is therefore not an abstract datum referring to the phenomenon in generic terms, but there is a precise contextualization in relation to the territory of the Municipality of Desio ". For administrative judges, the power of the Mayor referred to in art. 50, paragraph 7, of the Legislative Decree. 267/2000, for the purposes of protecting health and public peace, legitimizes the adoption of functional measures to regulate the hours of the amusement arcades and public establishments in which gaming equipment is installed and, in fact, the jurisprudence has long established on the principle according to which the provision of hourly limitations is a suitable tool to combat the phenomenon of gambling addiction (Council of State, section V 26 August 2020 no. 5225, which refers to its previous 5 June 2018 no. 3382). The contested order, therefore, the judges continue, is in the wake of the above where it states that "the contrast of pathological phenomena connected to compulsive gambling can also be usefully exercised through interventions aimed at regulating and limiting access to gaming equipment , providing for a new hourly regulation of the financial years in question ". Further, for the judges, "in the current historical moment the diffusion of the phenomenon of gambling addiction in large sections of civil society constitutes a well-known fact or, in any case, a notion of fact of common experience (see TAR Veneto, section III 11 November 2019 n. 1109; TAR Milan, section IV March 15, 2021 n. 665, which recalls art. 115 paragraph 2 cpc), as evidenced by the numerous law enforcement initiatives taken by public authorities at European, national and regional level. conclusion, precisely on the basis of the above considerations, the Lombardy Regional Administrative Court deemed justified the measures adopted by the administration of Desio with the aforementioned Ordinances, since, according to consolidated jurisprudence, "it does not seem unreasonable or disproportionate to impose limitations on economic activities that are scientifically recognized as dangerous to health, precisely because it is not a question of introducing a sort of "prohibition", which could have adverse effects on the very level of protection of health, nor of general prohibition, but of regulation in correspondence with particular places and particular time slots with higher usability of gaming exercises "(cf. Council of State, section III - 12/19/2019 n. 8563).