How the ‘Las Vegas of Italy’ is kicking its slot machine addiction

Once compared to Oxford, the university city of Pavia is now better known for gambling. These activists are fighting to change that At the start of this year, Massimo was standing on a bridge determined to jump off. The 45-year-old had been struggling with gambling addiction since 2001. I started to play slot machines and video poker after the death of my father and ended up spending 5,000 a day, says the artisan fence-maker, from the city of Pavia in northern Italy. He was soon in debt to loan sharks and ended up stealing to fund his habit, including from his own mother, before considering suicide. Now Massimo (not his real name) lives in La Casa del Giovane, a unit …