Last July, the oldest casino in Europe declared bankruptcy and was forced to shut down their operations. The Casinò di Campione closure has led to some far-reaching effects on the town it used to inhabit. Creditors are now taking to the court in an attempt to help more than 2,000 people affected by this casino going under.
It’s an unfortunate ending for what was the lifeline to an entire community of people. We’ll now take a look at the history of this important casino, and discuss what has led to its closure.
The Casinò di Campione lies inside the small Italian municipality of Campione d’Italia, located geographically within Switzerland but falling under Italian rule. The casino opened in 1917 as an information gathering and espionage location during WW1, and closed in 1919.
In 1933, the casino once again opened its doors, this time under a legal decree that the revenue it earned would be used to operate and maintain the municipality it lies within. The casino quickly became the biggest business in Campione d’Italia, with nearly all individuals and businesses in the area reliant on its operations.
In 2007, a massive reconstruction process of the Casinò di Campione began. The entire casino was destroyed and replaced by more than 55,000 square meters of new real estate in an attempt to attract more foreign visitors. Call it fate, or bad luck, but less than a year later the Italian economy found itself in a recession that continues to this day.
Before long, the casino was experiencing heavy losses. Inadvisably, they continued hiring new employees and racked up nearly €73 million in debt. The courts officially called on the casino to close their operations this past July, yet thousands of people in this region with ties to the casino are now faced with serious problems.
Today, over 200 creditors headed to the courtroom in an attempt to save what’s left of the casino. More than 500 people worked at the Casinò di Campione, all of whom have not been paid since they closed shop in July.
The Swiss government may be the only savior at this point. They’ve pushed to absorb the Italian enclave for years, yet all of their offers have been rejected. With the entire community facing an economic disaster, the Italian government may be forced to change their tone and allow Switzerland to take over the situation.
There are others that want to see the casino reopen. As of today, no progress has been made on that front. Those affected by the Casinò di Campione closure are being forced to sit and wait while the government figures out what to do.
Italy has been a notoriously difficult country when it comes to online gambling over the years. In 2010, the market finally opened up and most of the top internet gaming sites in Europe now operate here.
Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that online gambling could help to solve the problems caused by the Casinò di Campione closure. This particular casino did not offer any kind of online platform to generate revenue from. The community affected relied on visitors playing here on land.
Today marks an important day in the future of this small Italian municipality. It remains to be seen what will happen in Campione d’Italia. Will the government find a solution? Will the oldest casino in Europe once again open its doors?
Stay tuned for updates on the situation, and let us know what you think will happen in the comment section below!
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