Malta might be reopening most of its non-essential businesses on Monday… but there’s one business that definitely should’ve remained closed if the National Book Council Chairmain had his way.
“Let me start by saying we don’t deserve Chris Fearne because of how good he is,” outspoken PL delegate Mark Camilleri said on Facebook earlier today. “Well done for leading one of the best anti-COVID operations in the whole world.”
“But which idiot proposed reopening lotto booths?” Camilleri continued.
“These should be the last thing to open, because they increase the risk that people who are currently financially desperate would gamble even more money.”
“It’s a vicious cycle,” Camilleri went on, taking aim at the entire industry… and the government’s apparent lack of foresight.
“Actually, I think that in this particular time of economic crisis, lotto and betting shops should remain closed for an indefinite time because they’re detrimental to poor people who are desperate and full of self-pity,” Camilleri finished. “A socialist government would’ve noticed this.”
While many agreed with Camilleri, even quoting news from other European countries like Latvia (which banned online gambling during the COVID-19 lockdown), others were not quite convinced.
“Although your thoughts are noble, this lotto booth issue is a long-term decision,” one person replied. “These COVID-19 measures need to directly address the pandemic, and not be a sweet veil for one to hide behind to address other issues like lotto booths, hunting, illegal immigration and all the rest. The health authorities’ brief needs to be respected and looked at specifically as a way to combat COVID-19.”
“I do agree with your argument on it being a vice,” another added. “But I also think that this is being seen as yet another form of income by the government, at a time when much more is being spent than saved. Also, whoever runs these booths can start working again now.”
This is not the first time that Camilleri has gone on record to speak out about tough issues involving his own party.
One of Malta’s most outspoken social delegates, Camilleri had closed off 2019 by opening up about the pain and struggle Joseph Muscat’s political crisis had forced onto the rest of the Labour Party.
“Joseph Muscat made us look like fools,” he had said. “Maybe many Labourites aren’t realising right now just how incredibly serious this is, but this is a huge scar that our party will be forced to bear, and people will keep reminding us of this, forever.”