The impact of the bankruptcy and court-ordered closure of Casinò di Campione – Europe’s oldest casino – continues to make itself felt in the Italian exclave of Campione d’Italia.
In July last year, the Como court ordered the casino closed while prosecutors investigate financial mismanagement.
“The town is collapsing. The little bars, pizzerias and stores are all in deep trouble,” said Fiorenzo Dorigo, one of the nearly 500 employees who have not received a salary since last July. “It is hitting all the sectors, from the distribution chain to the taxi drivers to the bakers who brought bread to the casino restaurant kitchen. Everyone gave them credit. No-one believed the casino would close from one day to the next.”
According to court documents, the shuttered casino’s debt is now estimated to be around 73m, while the property has more than 200 creditors.
“Everybody made mistakes – the politicians, the management, the municipality. But the paradox is that in the factory of errors, the only ones who are paying the price are the not guilty ones – but the workers,” the former head of the casino’s food and beverage unit and casino workers’ union leader, Mirko Chirico.
Nearly 500 laid off workers have not received salaries or benefits since July 2018, while another 150 workers in the distribution chain in surrounding Swiss villages are also affected.
In January, Paolo Bortoluzzi was appointed as a commissioner by the government to review the situation with a 45- day window to potentially set up a new company to operate the property.
To reopen the casino the Italian government would have to enact a decree to circumvent a law which states that once a state-run company has gone bankrupt it cannot subsequently resume its activity.
“We are all in limbo now and the more time passes the more difficult it will be become,” Dorigo added. “We are in a race against time.”