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The mafia is always on-the-make for money

By Steve Scherer

Reuters) ROME, – Legalising gambling in Italy was supposed to help curb the mafia. Unfortunately, prosecutors say, it has only created new opportunities for the mob.

Cash-strapped Italian governments desperate for revenue have relaxed the rules on betting over the past two decades, to the point that Italians now wager $80 billion euros ($86 billion) a year – nearly equal to 5 percent of gross domestic product.

About half of that is poured into 400,000 video slot machines, twice as many as in U.S. gambling capital Nevada, which have become ubiquitous in the espresso bars where Italians stop several times a day for coffee, sandwiches and cocktails.

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