News | Sunday, 30 November 2008

Casino for Lipari ‘as in Malta’, says Sicily councillor

Forget the credit crunch, and open a casino. Lipari councillor Antonio Casilli, a member of the centre-right Forza Italia party, is calling on Lipari’s and Messina’s local councillors to take a leaf out of Malta’s book and open a casino in Sicily.
Like his counterparts in Taormina, Casilli has set his eye on the money that is leaving the island when avid gamblers make the short trip to Malta, which has four casinos in its small land area – compared to Italy’s five casinos in the north.
“For some time Malta has been adopting an intelligent tourism policy, which allows people to go to the island in the weekend at ‘zero-cost’, as long as tourists visit and play in the casinos,” Casilli claimed.
Italy’s casinos are in the Swiss enclave of Campione d’Italia, Sanremo, Saint-Vincent, and two municipal casinos in Venezia.
Malta’s casinos are the Dragonara and Portomaso in St Julian’s, the Casinò di Venezia in Birgu and the Oracle in Marsascala.
Lipari is the largest of a chain of eight islands in a volcanic archipelago that straddles the gap between Vesuvius and Etna. Casilli said a casino in Lipari would boost tourism in the archipelago and spillover into the surrounding territory in the form of jobs and new revenue for the public coffers.
He said the casino would attract “a select and exclusive clientele”.

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