In the Czech Republic and the city council for Prague is reportedly set to consider controversial legislation later today that would prohibit the operation of all electronic and mechanical gaming machines from 2024.
According to a Tuesday report from iGamingBusiness.com, the city-wide ban is being promoted as a way of helping to reduce the prevalence of problem gambling in the city of some 2.6 million inhabitants and would also encompass land-based slots while exempting live casino table games such as roulette and blackjack.
Venues in Prague were home to 15,934 gaming machines at the start of 2010 but that this tally has since decreased to stand at 3,995 as of the end of last month. The source cited local councillor Hana Kordova Marvanova as declaring that these units are now being specifically targeted after becoming identified as a key driver in gambling addictions.
Kordova Marvanova reportedly told iGamingBusiness.com…
“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 while on the other reducing a pathological phenomenon associated with gambling.”
The proposed prohibition comes after the largest city in the Czech Republic passed a measure some 13 years ago that established the specific types of venues that were allowed to operate gaming machines. The source explained that approximately 1,420 locations were subsequently approved although this sanctioned tally has since fallen to just 101.
The nation of around 10.7 million people later reportedly ratified legislation that established new tax procedures for all licensed gambling operators alongside a complete ban on the advertising of their wares. Despite these changes, Kordova Marvanova purportedly furthermore told iGamingBusiness.com that more now needs to be done to protect players due to the fact that some venues have since found ways around these edicts.
Finally, the councillor reportedly estimated that a complete Prague gaming machines ban could end up costing the city about $17.8 million in annual tax revenues although she proclaimed that officials would subsequently increase the provision of funds to local organizations that rely on these gambling duties such as sports clubs and cultural enterprises.
The councillor reportedly told iGamingBusiness.com…
“I promised the city districts that the loss of income due to the ban on these machines will not be felt and will be compensated from the budget of the city so as not to hurt the financing of important public activities.”