Activists from the Initiative Stop Gambling called on Prime Minister Robert Fico to scrap the duty to collect the signatures of at least 30 percent of adults living in a town or village to initiate a local gambling ban.
The call follows the earlier discovery that more than 3,000 out of 8,018 petition sheets urging for a gambling ban in Bratislava went missing from the city hall, the TASR newswire reported.
“People in Slovakia must spend four years collecting petitions to make it possible for their elected representatives to be able to vote on a gambling ban,” said activist Michal Svetko, as quoted by TASR. “If this is fair, then we propose to reverse the rights and duties for the next four years.”
Another activist Peter Beňa suggests the disappearance of petition sheets from Bratislava city hall as a return to the 1990s.
“We believe that money and mafia practices won’t win in Slovakia in the end, and that the will of people and volunteers, who have sacrificed more than 10,000 hours of their time to change the city, will be respected,” said another activist Jozef Melicher, as quoted by TASR.
The activists have been calling for a total ban on gambling.
Dominika Lukáčová from the Entertainment and Gambling Association condemned the statements linking gaming clubs to the disappearance of the sheets and mafia practices. The activists from the initiative obviously have not read a new amendment to the gambling act, she added.
“It reads clearly that municipalities have been given powers to ban individual gaming clubs or machines if they’re related to disturbance of public order,” Lukáčová said, as quoted by TASR. “This can be done without any petition and without any generally binding directives.”
She also complained that the organisers of the petition in Bratislava want to interfere with the gambling clubs’ right to carry out their legal business activities.
Finance Minister Peter Kažimír (Smer) meanwhile addressed Bratislava Mayor Ivo Nesrovnal.
“I offered the mayor help and we will look together for solutions to this situation,” Kažimír said in an official statement.
The ministry will also look for solutions that would be responsive to the people who supported the initiative.
24. Aug 2016 at 6:32 | Compiled by Spectator staff