Rome is one of the most romantic and exciting places on earth. It has an incredible history that dates back 2500 years ago. There are spectacular buildings from antiquity, great culture, and some of the most beautiful sites you will ever see. It is the experience and sites of Rome that draw millions of people to Italy’s capital city every year.
However, they are not coming there to gamble…at least not legally. It is not lawful for casinos to operate in Rome, which seems rather surprising. There are casinos in Italy, four of them in fact. So why is it that they do not allow casinos to operate there?
Gambling Is Part of the DNA of the City
It is kind of ironic that casinos are not allowed to operate within Rome. If you look at the history of this country, back when the Roman Empire was at its peak, there was a significant amount of gambling that occurred within the city. People placed wagers on gladiator events and chariot races. Gambling became a regular part of society.
It is not as if gambling has become taboo among the Italian people. There are options for people to go play at casinos and people are still able to play table games and slot machines in all parts of Italy using online casinos such as these here. These online casinos are even accessible to people within Rome. Residents and tourists are able to play at online casinos, they just cannot visit a physical casino in Rome. So, what is the deal with that?
Plenty to Do in Rome
When you think of Rome, there are clearly thousands of things you could do there. Rome has some of the most incredible artwork, statues, and structures you will find anywhere in the world. Many of the structures date back thousands of years and, even those that are decaying, still offer you an incredible opportunity to look back in history.
You can visit museums where they have ancient art pieces, statues, paintings, and much more. There are incredible botanical Gardens, historic fountains, beautifully designed arches and some of the best food you will ever put in your mouth.
This does not even include modern attractions, such as sporting events, bars and nightclubs, and festivals. There is no doubt that there is plenty to do in Rome and it would only seem natural that casinos would add another great piece to what can be done in the city.
So, why are they? Maybe the reason why there are no casinos in Rome is because they want people visiting the other attractions. Maybe it is that they do not want a large casino taking up a huge amount of the already limited space the city has to offer.
A Little History Lesson Is in Order
If these were the reasons, maybe it would be understandable why Rome does not allow casinos to operate there. However, neither of these are the reasons. The truth is that there is a long history of gambling within the country, but there is also a history of curbing this behavior.
For example, Venice was the first city to have an actual gambling house. This occurred in 1638, which meant for about 1300 years gambling was illegal within the region. This became the first recognized casino in the history of the world.
It may be surprising to you, but Italy did not actually become a country until 1861. Prior to that, all the cities and municipalities were divided into separate kingdoms. It was not until Victor Emmanuel II was able to unite many of these cities into one fiefdom under his control that there was a “united” Italy.
Until that point, each city-state was allowed to determine for themselves whether gambling would be permissible. For Rome, there was no possibility of this occurring. After all, the Vatican, the home of the Catholic Church, is located within Rome. With the pope ruling the Vatican in Rome, many of the activities that were allowed in other city-states were not permissible in Rome. This included gambling.
After World War II, Italy became a new nation, no longer ruled by a king or dictator. As part of the laws created by the new legislative body, gambling was outlawed. This did not just mean in Rome, but across the entire country. In some areas where games such as baccarat and bingo were allowed, they were no longer permissible.
This remained in effect until 2006, when a series of laws allowed for certain gambling activities to become legal. In that year, gambling for real money in games of skill was allowed. It also gave the government the authority to issue licenses to gambling operators. A year later, the Finance Act created a government agency that would regulate games of skill and games of chance within the country. This committee legalized poker and video poker games.
Despite gambling being a legal across Italy, casinos were allowed to operate even prior to the 2006 laws. The Ridotto, the casino created in 1638, operated for over 100 years. It eventually closed after it was deemed that leaving the casino open was not in the interest of “moderate behavior.” It became the residence to royal families, but reopened as a casino in 1959 after the city of Venice renovated it. It now has over 600 slot machines and ongoing tournaments.
Casinos in Business Today
Today, the Ridotto, now known as the casino Venice, is not the only casino in operation in Italy. There are three others: The casinò di Campione d’Italia, Casinò di Sanremo, and Casino Saint-Vincent are also in operation.
The Casino d’Italia offers a multitude of table games and slot machines. There are over 650 slot machines available in the casino, which include video slots, video poker, and electronic roulette. Table games include poker, blackjack, roulette, both French and American, craps, and baccarat.
This facility is not open 24 hours a day. In fact, it does not open until 2 o’clock local time and remains open until nearly 4 o’clock in the morning. This facility is located in the Piazzale Milano.
The Casino di Sanremo has nearly 500 slot machines and a limited number of table games, including poker, blackjack, roulette, both French and American, and baccarat. There are several poker tournaments that the casino hosts manually. Electronic games include video poker, jackpot slots, keno, and electronic roulette.
This casino is open each day at 10 AM and closes on Sunday through Thursday at 2:30 in on Friday and Saturday at 3:30 in the morning. It is located in Sanremo.
The Casino St. Vincent, also known as the Casino de la Valle, is the largest of the four casinos in Italy. It is open 24 hours a day, and has the largest number of table games and slot machines of any of the facilities. Table games include both American and French roulette, poker, blackjack, baccarat, craps, and Trente et Quarante. Also, they offer both Texas Holdem and Saint-Vincent Poker. Also available are slot machines, video slots, electronic roulette, video poker, and jackpot slots.
This facility is located in Saint-Vincent. It is open 24 hours a day, but you should be aware that there is a moderate dress code. They describe it as “smart casual,”, which means no sportswear or shorts and you must have closed footwear on. No tie is required, however.
The Rise of Online Casinos
While there are only a limited number of casinos in the country, Italians are able to play their favorite table games and slot machines by using the many online casinos that are available. As shown in the link above, there are over a dozen facilities where players can enjoy playing.
These online sites give residents and tourists the ability to play the game of choice. Some of these sites have more than a thousand games available, while others limit the action to a select group of games. This enables players to choose the right fit for themselves, not only based upon game choice but also on bonuses offered.
You can get in on the action no matter where you are in Italy, even if you are a long way away from one of the casinos.
So, Why Are There No Casinos in Rome?
It is clear that there is no apprehension about gambling in Italy. The online options ensure that Italians can play their favorite games no matter where they are in the country. With Rome being such a popular destination place, it would seem that adding casinos would only enhance the experience for tourists and for residents.
However, it is still illegal for casinos to operate in Italy’s capital city. No license has been authorized by the government and it does not look like one will be provided anytime in the future. So, what is standing in the way of the casino being built there?
The answer is likely rooted in the deep religious history of the country. With the Vatican housed in the center of Rome, it may very well be that popes and influential religious leaders have requested, maybe even influenced government officials from authorizing such a license. There is probably belief that it would give the wrong image to the Vatican. That has not been confirmed, but it is probably quite likely.
Regardless, there are still options available for people in Italy to enjoy casino games. Even if they are not able to get to one of the four land-based casinos, they can still play. There are still options available for them thanks to the online casinos, which are likely to only grow in popularity.