Articles

No gambling near churches and schools, FinMin orders

In Brno, Economy on December 15, 2008 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged:

vegasMunicipal administrations have been calling for this sort of regulation for years and now the Ministry of Finance introduced a new statutory regulation: there must be no gaming machine rooms and clubs etc. near schools and churches [kind of like these machines]. For the purpose of this law, “near” means within 100 meters.

This regulation is stupid and it does not solve anything.

Gambling is socially less acceptable but it is a legal hobby and there are people who do it for adrenaline. Children are not allowed to enter these establishments anyway, so the 100-meter perimeter will not protect them. Plus, anyone who wants to visit and gamble will find their favorite place, not matter how far from anything it is. And the regulated distance from churches is even more disturbing. Who says churches do less harm than gambling? Organized religion, in some cases and with some individuals, can be more harmful than gambling.

Plus, the new law will be applied retroactively. In other words, gaming rooms that already exist will have to relocate or close down, even though they have opened and established their businesses a few years ago pursuant to applicable laws. I thought the principle of retroactivity was unconstitutional. It is like reintroducing capital punishment and executing all killers who are now serving twenty to life just because we didn’t have death penalty at the time they committed their crimes.

Local municipality of Downtown Brno (Brno-stred), which is a separate borough, calculated that out of 138 gaming rooms and restaurants/bars that operate these machines, 35 might not be allowed to renew their “license”. Of course, local municipalities receive fees from these machines, in case of Brno-stred it is some 55M a year. Of course it will miss the money in its budget, provided that the soon-to-be illegal gaming rooms close down and are not replaced one-for-one.

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