created since 2003       

Card Playing Prohibition
Filippo Maria Visconti (1420 - 1429)

1420: Filippo Maria forbids anyone to play cards, if not according to the correct and ancient system [Nel 1420 vietò qualsiasi giuoco delle carte, quando non fosse secondo il retto e antico sistema](F. Malaguzzi Valeri, "La corte di Ludovico il Moro" (Milano, Hoepli, 1913-1917) vol. I, p. 268).

1423: Filippo Maria acceded to the demand of the commune of Piacenza to stop the corruption in the gambling houses [baratteria](which gave the Ducal coffers 100 fiorini per year); that is to say, that he banned the game [Nel '23 accolse favorevolmente la supplica onde il comune di Piacenza chiedeva si togliesse la gabella della baratteria (rendeva alla Camera ducale 100 fiorini l'anno), cioè si proibisse il giuoco] (Boselli op. cit.(title not found), II, p. 160).

1426, 19 March: Filippo Maria proclaimed an ordinance "against gaming and holding 'biscatia'" [emanò ordini 'contra ludentes et tenentes biscatia]((N. Ferorelli)'I Registri dell'Ufficio degli Statuti di Milano', Milano, 1926, p. 277).(I guess 'biscatia' might be a game party or gambling house; modern Italian: bisca = gambling hell, biscazziere = owner of a gambling-hell)

1427, 17 February: Filippo Maria prohibits the use of the dice or of carticelle [proibì l'uso dei "tasselli" o delle "carticelle"](F. Malaguzzi Valeri, "La corte di Ludovico il Moro" (Milano, Hoepli, 1913-1917) vol. I, p. 268).

1429, 4 May: Filippo Maria approves the April 6 decision of the Cosiglio generale of Como to forbid games of dice and also zara, also abolishing the permit of the gambling house; only to be permitted were the games of tables, chess, cards or cartelle, except those games of pure chance; it would also be forbidden to bet more than 20 soldi a day per person [approvò la deliberazione 6 aprile dei Cosiglio generale di Como di vietar i giuochi dei dadi ed altri di zara, con l'abolir il dazio della baratteria: erano permessi solo i giuochi della tavole, scacchi, carte o cartelle, eccettuati però sempre quelli di pura fortuna, e anche nei permessi era vietato esporre a perdita piu di 20 soldi al giorno per persona](Rovelli, op. cit. (title not noted), part III, vol. I, pp. 133ff.).

[All of the above are collected in A. Butti, F. Fossati, G. Petraglione, eds., 'P. Candidi Decembri: Opuscula historica' (Rerum Italicarum Scriptores XX/I, Bologna, Zanichelli, 1925) pp. 326-327, n. 1 (ll. 97-115; 1-11)]

(found and collected by Ross Gregory Caldwell)

Note (autorbis):

The prohibition notes from Milano (new to us in January 2004) add to our already existent opinion or suspicion, that after the Council of Constance the liberality in Italy increased for a while and as secondary sign of this the playing card notes also increased in number as part of this liberal movement.
Ross Caldwell tends to interprete this in the moment in stronger relation to the new appearance of the Imperatori deck (with special view at the entry from 1420), I would assume a more general tendency (especially as we know from the Imperatori deck only from Florence and Ferrara).
The note from 1429 examplifies, that the prohibition tone of Filippo is much more moderate than what is known around Florence by the researches of Franco Pratesi, Filippo Maria prohibits only against the excess (further discussion will follow). Additionally to these "prohibitions only against excess" are the playing activities of Filippo Maria Visconti himself, the Michelino-deck and the chess- and playing-club at his own court in 1427, and the fact, that San Bernardino, the personified public opinion "against" card-playing, came to Milano and criticised Filippo Maria openly.
One should consider, that Milano was a very big city in its time, from some taken as the greatest city of the world. Life in great cities is mostly a little different from that in smaller cities, perhaps the greater liberality in this question is explainable by this condition. People in great cities perceive themselves as more modern than the people from the "villages" around them. Florence was much smaller than Milano, but the most modern city of the European region. However, the climate in the city republic also did lead perhaps a little bit to the situation, that everybody controlled everybody (a lot of people had to leave the city cause of some sort of misbehaviour), whereas in the Milanese situation the frontier between officials and population was clearer drawn and such conditions might have led to greater tolerance - sinners against publical laws keep their rows better closed. The excess of mind-control in Florence took place under Savonarola, the greatest of the playing card burners - and the excess demonstrates, what forces also had been in the most modern of all Italian places, which long had the pleasure to be ruled by the very liberal Lorenzo de Medici, who was accused later to have depraved the youth. In Florence also the papal influence might have caused the difference - it was a missing factor in Milano.
Visconti Hours, Belbellada of Pavia, c. 1412