Lawmakers vote to ban slot machines in Prague

The city council will have the final say tomorrow on whether to ban slot machines completely.
The city council will have the final say tomorrow on whether to ban slot machines completely.

The ban would cover all mechanical and electronics games in the Czech capital.

Czech Republic.- Lawmakers have given their vote to a new decree that would ban all electronic and mechanical gaming machines in the Czech capital.

The decree will now be considered by the city council tomorrow (September 10).

The city has already reduced the number of gaming machines dramatically in recent years but the new decree would ban them completely.

If the council also votes in favour, all legal slot machines and video lottery terminals will disappear from the Czech capital when the current licensing period ends in 2024.

Existing operators with licences for the games would be allowed to continue operating them until the licence period ends. Live gambling would not be affected by the decree.

Prague councillor Hana Kordová Marvanová recognised that the decree would cause the city to lose CZK400m (€15.1m) in annual tax revenue, but said money from elsewhere in the council’s budget would be used to make up the shortfall for sports, culture and educational programmes in the city’s districts.

She said the objective was to tackle problem gambling, noting that electronic games had been identified as the most addictive forms of gambling.

She said: “The issue of regulating the operation of gambling is primarily a question of finding a balanced solution, responding to the development of legislation and modern gaming technologies.

“On one hand, this leaves the citizen free to decide and do business, and on the other hand reduces pathological phenomena associated with gambling.”

Previous decrees passed in Prague have reduced the times and the number of venues where gambling can take place.

There are now 101 official casino venues while the number of gaming machines has fallen in the last ten years from 15,934 to 3,995.

Kordová Marvanová said the city also planned to take action to clampdown on “de-facto casinos” that offered a wheel of fortune in place of live play.

Last week in the Czech Republic, Casino Kartáč lost its €262m online roulette case against the state in court.

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