Prohibition for Slots on the Cards in Prague in New Draft Bill
It’s hard to believe a city of a country who are famed for gambling tourism could be about to ban slot machines altogether, but that’s exactly what they’re proposing in Prague! Last year, following the city of Prague’s decree which was passed in 2014, the last playroom in Prague 7 was shut down. Here’s where confusion sets in; gambling in the Czech Republic itself is very much legal, the same goes for gambling online, but legislation states municipal districts can impose their own set of rules and one of those rules could wipe out slot machines within a 3-year period!
The Mayor of Prague 7, Jan Čižinský, welcomed the districts zero tolerance to gambling when it passed the vote with a staggering majority of 92% back in 2014 and has been backing a complete prohibition on all gambling terminals ever since, only with the one exception – live gambling venues will remain unaffected by the proposed changes.
Speaking in 2019, the mayor said: “It’s great news. In 2015, we set a zero-tolerance against gambling and gaming machines through a decree of the City of Prague 7. Since then, we have been pushing the Treasury to speed up the lengthy process of licensing. It took longer than expected, but in the end it happened. Prague 7 is now completely without gambling and gaming machines. Shops filled with gambling sites and pawnshops. We are pleased that Prague 7 is no longer contributing to becoming a pathological player and destroying life.”
Enforcing the New Rule
Councillor Hana Kordova Marvanová said that slot machines are a “bad sign for the city” and even went as far as to say that the slot machines were the most addictive forms of gambling and are often linked to crime, while outlining the gaming machines pose “both a social and security risk.” New legislation was drafted up in a bill last week calling for the ban of electronic, electromechanical and mechanical gambling games in Prague and it would seem the vast majority are on board with the proposals.
But, with such a bold move, what would happen in terms of revenue? In 2012, the number of casinos in Prague was approximately 7,600 – fast forward to 2020 and that number has plummeted to roughly 1,800. However, that 1,800 figure amassed more than CZK690 million (approximately $30.7 million) last year alone, so with the ban on slot machines on the table, where would that huge chunk of much-needed revenue come from? Many are now concerned that the new legislation would impact tourism what with many flying into the city to gamble.
Hypothetically speaking, if the new bill is passed, slot machines won’t instantly disappear. Operators will be allowed to offer slot machines to customers until their licenses expire and based on this alone, we wouldn’t see the back of them until at least 2023, what with the majority of operators still having three years to run on their licenses.