The old one-armed bandit machines look set to vanish from premises where alcohol is sold after parliament gave the thumbs up to a revision to the Gambling Act submitted by the KDH party with 81 votes in favour.
The law will take effect from 2013 and will mean that there will be no smoking or drinking for gamblers even in gambling arcades. Although the premises can still have bars, the sale of alcohol will be prohibited. Hardcore gamblers can now even be refused entry if they or their relatives have requested it.
The revision, which is trying to combat growing social problems with gambling and game playing, also affords new powers to municipalities, which from September will have the final say on whether a casino or other gambling establishment can be set up in their locality or not.
Owners of gambling establishments previously tried to convince the government not to go ahead with the plan as national and local budgets would lose out on around EUR 40 million a year, not to mention the loss of thousands of jobs, they said.