COVID-19 crisis. The gaming industry: the only call to give and not to receive


The numbers of the crisis in the Covid-19 emergency are nightmarish. Hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk, from distribution to trade, and beyond. Sectors only partially taken into consideration in the dl Relaunch just published in the Official Journal whose particularity is precisely that of distributing rain aid, even for the development of video game start-ups, and of assigning to the betting sector the primacy of being the only one having to give without receiving anything.

Rather. Approval yesterday of an amendment to the Liquidity Decree the examination of the Chamber only partially remedies yet another paradox ready to fall on the sector. That is, the payment of the withholding tax on the slot games after more than two months of total closure, and therefore in a liquidity crisis, and then postponed to the equivalent payments to zero, from August onwards. A situation that falls on thousands of small slot management companies, which in recent months have only been able to witness the reduction of their financial reserves, between the moral duty to guarantee a salary for workers and that with the various suppliers.

In an optimistically called Relaunch maneuver, the contribution to the new “save sports” fund for the next 18 months was set at 0.50% of the collections of sports and virtual bets. In a market that remained in lockdown until June 14, it is a new tax of 15%.

A nice idea, no doubt about it, that goes hand in hand with uncertainty as to when the activities will start again. The news of the approval of the Covid-19 decree, of which we hardly speak any more, has raised concern, such are the many rules and provisions to which the government has accustomed us in the following days. In that decree, by which all gaming activities are suspended, it is possible to extend the state of emergency to 31 July 2020 and therefore adopt one or more measures in order to contain and contrast the health risks deriving from the spread of the virus. This certainly does not mean that until then it will not reopen, but only that, prudently, the Executive would know how to do it.

And in itself it is not a good thing. As well explained yesterday, Paolo Proietti, national manager of one of the major Italian unions, the gaming sector is not only not among the priorities of this government, but it is known for certain that it will have to face, when it can reopen, a very difficult situation, discounting a delay compared to other activities.

Because the problem is not only being able to raise those famous shutters, but also understanding how to do it and how it will be allowed to do it. In these emergency weeks, the sector has revealed a part of itself that is little known, very often underestimated, which is that of the workers, of which, more often than not, due to the characteristics of these companies, daily life is lived in close contact with owners of businesses and businesses. For many of them, as well as for entrepreneurs, the recovery will mean rethinking the way of working, the rhythms and the methods, in the awareness that this is a sector that is always asked and not given. mc

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