Court overturns Bratislava’s gambling ban

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The Regional Court in Bratislava has reversed a plan to ban all gambling venues in the Slovakian capital.

In April 2017, Bratislava City Council voted for an absolute ban on gambling within city limits, with only sports betting shops and lottery retailers exempted from the measure.

The vote required around 305 casinos, slots and bingo halls to close as their licences expired, while the measure would have seen all venues in the city cease operations by 2021.

The Regional Court in Bratislava did not rule on the ban itself but rather the way in which it was introduced.

City councillors took the decision to restage the gambling vote a second time after the first vote in February 2017 failed to pass. The Court also barred a further vote on the issue.

The Slovak Association of Entertainment and Games (AZAH) noted that the ban had already seen around 50 gaming venues close their doors since it came into effect in May 2017.

“Even though gambling continues to be legal, there will be no Las Vegas in Bratislava,” said Dominika Lukacova of AZAH.

The mayor of Bratislava, Ivo Nesrovnal, claimed that “the wishes of 136,000 Bratislavans [had] been trampled” by the ruling, and stated that the city plans to appeal the case in the Supreme Court.

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