Slovakia’s Financial Administration has seized a number of quiz and gambling machines in what turned out to be the biggest illegal gambling operation to have been carried out in the country in recent years.
Local news outlet The Slovak Spectator reported earlier today that after multiple raids across the country, the Financial Administration seized late last month five devices of the quiz machine type and 75 gambling machines. The operation was carried out over two days, June 28-29, and was part of the Slovak government’s continued effort to combat illegal gambling.
More than 180 comptrollers and custom officers raided over 100 gambling facilities across the nation late last month to detect any violations of the nation’s new gambling law that took effect early in 2018.
The Financial Administration has said in a press release that the raids first involved officers trying the machines and whether they were used for gambling. In some of the facilities, gambling machines were found to have been turned off, while in others the machines were not connected to the Internet or were off the grid.
Some of the raided facilities were subsequently sealed and officers are expected to conduct further inspections at those.
The confiscated quiz machines were sent to the Technical Testing Institute where experts could determine whether these were used for gambling purposes. Financial Administration President František Imrecze has previously pointed out that quiz machines actually represent a form of gambling.
The Slovak Spectator further reported that the number of fines imposed on erring providers of gambling services has increased significantly over the past several years. According to figures presented by the TASR newswire, as many as 210 fines were slapped on such providers in 2017, with those being worth nearly €380,000.
The number reported represented an increase of 153 from 2016 and of 200 in 2015. As for the amounts imposed, these increased 3.75% from 2016 and 184% from 2015.
Commenting on authorities’ efforts to curb illegal gambling, Dominika Lukáčová, a spokeswoman for the Slovak Association of Entertainment and Gambling, said that they welcome these efforts. However, she went on to say, the government should realize that illegal gambling was the result from overregulation of the local industry.
News emerged last month that Bratislava’s full gambling ban that was adopted last spring was overturned by the capital’s Regional Court. Early last year, the City Council approved a ban on the provision of gambling services across the city that required the closure of casinos and gambling halls.
Properties were expected to close when their licenses expired, with the last such licenses slated to expire in 2021. However, the Regional Court ruled last month that the prohibition was running afoul of the country’s gambling law. As many as 50 venues were closed in the period between April 2017, when the ban was enforced, and the announcement of the court’s ruling.