City councillors in Slovakia’s capital Bratislava voted to ban gambling on 17 December following an anti-gambling petition, with the law set to come into effect on 1 January, 2021.
According to The Slovak Spectator, of the council’s 40 members 39 voted in favour of the ban whilst one abstained.
Other cities are also looking at introducing their own laws, with Nitra attempting to ban gambling since 2019, but failing to produce any significant legislation.
This is the second time a gambling ban has been introduced in Slovakia, with the first attempt lasting for less than two years from 1 May 2017 to 28 December 2018.
It was rendered ineffective after the Regional Prosecution Services declared that it did not comply with Slovakian law, and this opinion was shared by the Regional Court in Bratislava.
The new law does not mean that Bratislava’s casinos and gambling venues will close immediately – instead once businesses’ gaming licenses expire between 2023 and 2024 they will not be renewed.
Mayor of Bratislava Matúš Vallo is hopeful the new law will bring positive changes to the city, but casino and gambling venue operators believe it will achieve very little.
Róbert Vystavil, a casino operator in the city, argued that current legislation is sufficient, that ‘blanket bans” will solve nothing and that the current government has done very little to combat illegal gambling.
The gambling industry also generates significant revenue for the city – at the end of 2019 there were 89 gambling venues, two bingo halls and six casinos in the city, earning €2.76 million.