Casino di Campione in Italy claimed to be the oldest casino in Europe. At least, that was until it was forced to close this year. The casino had sought relief from spiraling debt last year to avoid bankruptcy, but now seems to be gasping for air, with creditors out an estimated $83.47 million.
Creditors are still holding on to a little bit of hope. They appeared before a court judge yesterday to try and work out a deal. If an agreement can’t be reached, the death of the casino could mean the death of a town, Lake Lugano.
According to a report by The Telegraph out of the UK, some of the creditors include the town’s inhabitants – all 2,000 of them. From the village baker to the local fire department, they could all be out millions of dollars due to what has been reportedly mismanagement on the part of the casino operators, as well as the Italian government’s continued push for a larger piece of the action.
500 employees are already out of work, because of the court-ordered closure last year, and haven’t received salaries or benefits since last July. One man, Fiorenzo Dorigo, told The Telegraph, “The town is collapsing. The little bars, pizzerias and stores are all in deep trouble. 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.”
Italy’s government has promised to appoint a special commissioner to explore the casino’s case and whether it can be reopened; however, there is still no commissioner and the 30-day period within which the individual would be appointed has already passed. Dorigo adds, “We are all in limbo now and the more time passes the more difficult it will be become. We are in a race against time.”
According to a brief by Italian news outlet Corriere Di Como from today, a judge has already heard 202 out of the 212 creditor complaints that were filed. However, the outlet states that resolution may not come until the end of March. This means that, in the meantime, the casino will remain empty and the town’s future will remain uncertain.