Slovakian Gambling Changes Stall Following Presidential Intervention

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Slovakian Gambling Changes Stall Following Presidential Intervention ( Click to Enlarge )

Many Slovakians spent the majority of 2018 anticipating the mass liberalisation of online gambling in their country, but it seems that reform plans have been stalled at the eleventh hour by Andrej Kiska, the country’s president.

Foreign Gambling Business

Only last week, Slovakian commentators suggested that a new bill which would have allowed foreign gambling businesses to operate in the country was set to pass through parliament without any difficulty, but that has not turned out to be the case.

The bill had already been approved by both the Ministry of Finance as well as the legislative house, and only had to be signed off by the president, which is usually nothing more than a ceremonial task. However, upon reviewing the document, Kiska declared himself unhappy, stating that he had ‘certain reservations‘.

Safety Concerns

Although the document had already been signed off by numerous official bodies, the president decided that he could not push through the legislation in its current form. Speaking on December 24, he stated that the bill, as currently written, is more focused on economic benefit, both for the country and for the gambling operators themselves, and is less focused on ensuring the safety of the gamblers themselves.

He said that although he thinks that online gambling liberalisation will be a ‘boon’ for the country financially, he does not want to do anything that could potentially damage the most vulnerable people in society, and will only be willing to put his name to the bill if certain additions are made.

In a statement earlier this year, Kiska called for all those Slovakian residents that have been bankrupted at some point in their life to be placed on a list that would disallow them to gamble online. However, although this was called for many months ago, and was regarded as a very sensible move at the time, such a stipulation was not contained within the finalised document.

Amendments

Similarly, Kiska has said that he still has concerns with regard to how user data will be stored. Although the bill makes mention of the fact that private information will be safe, it does not give details, nor does it provide high levels of evidence to show that information actually will be fully secure.

What’s more, the bill makes no mention of how any profits will be used to help people who have gambling addictions, which is something that all countries with liberalised online gambling laws are obliged to do. This is another addition that Kiska has asked for in past months, but was also ultimately omitted.

Although the bill has been rejected by President Kiska in its current form, it is incredibly likely that a revised bill will end up being passed once certain amends have been made. However, it is certainly worth keeping an eye out on this story, as there could well be many more twists and turns in the coming weeks.