Slovakia Online Gambling Gets a Veto
In Slovakia, the president has the power to veto bills passed by their legislature, and that’s exactly what happened with the proposed law that would have legalized and regulated online gambling in the country. President Andrej Kiska decided that many of the details of the legislation was not to his liking, and he’s sent it back to the legislature with a number of proposed changes.
In almost all cases that we’ve seen before, we would be against such a veto, and that’s because the reasons for a veto in situations like this one are usually overly political. However, this particular scenario is a big exception to that, and we’re completely in favor of the points that President Kiska has made.
The changes that were proposed as a part of the veto almost seem like common sense when you look at them, and it’s to the point of making us wonder why they weren’t included in the first place.
What Kiska Wants Changed
We can’t remember having ever seen the president of a country strongly stand up for the rights and protections of the players in a way that makes sense and that wasn’t incredibly political motivated, and Kiska is the first. He had a number of problems with what was proposed in the legislation that was put in front of him, and almost all of them have to do with player protections.
For one, he wants stronger protections in place to help protect people who aren’t financially in a position to gamble. There is a national gambling exclusion registry in Slovakia, and there are various ways to end up on that list (which includes voluntary inclusion). One of the things he wants changed is that he wants people who have ever declared personal bankruptcy to be put on that registry, and the logic is that it will protect people who are vulnerable financially.
Additionally, the proposed legislation would have people send over digital copies of their state-issued identification cards to verify their identity. Because of concerns over privacy and the protection of player information in the case of a data breach, he wants there to be an investigation to see if there are better ways to validate players along these lines.
Gambling Tax and Local Issues
On top of the above points, there’s also the issue of what will be done with the tax revenues brought in from regulating the online gambling industry. In the vetoed legislation, there were no guidelines about how that money would be spent.
President Kiska brought this up as a point of contention, but more specifically, he wanted to see some of that money allocated for support and treatment programs for problem and compulsive gamblers. It’s virtually unheard of for any regulation of the industry to not include treatment for these types of addictive behaviors, something that affects a very small minority of the population, and regulatory structures without such measures are almost universally blasted by industry experts.
Finally, he also wants local governments to have more control over what types of gambling are allowed in their areas and how much of it is permitted.
What to Expect
We’re not sure if this is going to turn into a long, drawn-out battle between the president and the legislature or if the legislature will simply add everything Kiska wants to get the measures passed. We hope it’s the latter, and while we won’t be surprised if it’s not, we’ll definitely be disappointed.