The Italian tax authorities have introduced a gambling tax on the beloved game of table football.
To the fury of much of the country, the government considers it gambling – similar to slot machines.
“Owners will never cover the tax payment with the paltry income they get from the games, so they are getting rid of them,” said Paola Binetti, a senator who criticised the measure in Parliament.
The senator explained that two beach club owners had been fined around R67,000 by police for not having the right permits to host table football.
“It’s total nonsense. No one gambles on table football, but they are treating the children playing this game like hardened Las Vegas gamblers,” Binetti said, as per The Times.
Table football is a major attraction for children during their summer holidays. They spend hours behind the sticks, imagining life on a real football field.
But with a tax implemented on the hobby, that could all soon change.
“Table football is the classic game for children who have nothing to do, and should be encouraged as an alternative to gambling,” Binetti said.
Fabrizio Locordari, head of the beach club managers’ group Assobalneari, claimed that several cafe owners had thrown out their football tables to avoid paying the new tax.
Pinball machines are also part of the new tax regulations.
“It’s shocking,” said Locordari. “I grew up playing table football at my local parish hall and at the beach, as did thousands of Italians, and now some frustrated bureaucrat is taking it away.”
Image source: @TheTimes