On 17 December, following an anti-gambling petition, city councillors in Slovakia’s capital Bratislava voted to prohibit gambling, with the bill set to come into effect on 1 January 2021.
According to The Slovak Spectator, 39 of the 40 members of the council voted in favour of the ban, while one abstained.
Other cities are also looking to introduce their own laws, with Nitra seeking to prohibit gambling since 2019, but struggling to create any important legislation.
This is the second time in Slovakia that a gambling ban has been enforced, with the first attempt running from 1 May 2017 to 28 December 2018 for less than two years.
It was made useless after the Regional Prosecution Services had announced that it did not comply with the law of Slovakia and the Regional Court in Bratislava expressed this view.
The new legislation does not suggest that casinos and gambling venues in Bratislava will close immediately, but they will not be extended until the gaming licences of companies expire between 2023 and 2024.
Bratislava Mayor Matúš Vallo is optimistic that the new legislation will bring significant improvements to the region, but operators of casinos and gambling venues claim it will accomplish very little.
A casino operator in the area, Róbert Vystavil, argued that existing legislation is adequate, that ‘blanket bans’ can fix nothing and that very little has been done by the current government to tackle illicit gambling.
The gambling industry also generates substantial income for the city, with 89 gambling venues, two bingo halls and six casinos in the city at the end of 2019, earning EUR 2.76 million.