KUL parties want to put gaming act changes to referendum

Ljubljana – The four opposition parties associated in the KUL coalition have filed to parliament a proposal to consult voters in a referendum whether the National Assembly should pass changes to the gaming act that aim to partly liberalise the industry. The move prevents the National Assembly from discussing the bill at third reading tomorrow.

The parties argue that gaming industry liberalisation is dangerous as it opens the door to privatisation of the largest gaming company HIT and poses risks to more people becoming addicted since it could result in more aggressive advertising.

The Left, LMŠ, SAB and SD thus want to ask voters whether they are in favour or against the National Assembly passing the changes to the gaming act based on which revenue of disability, charity and sport organisations would decrease, gaming companies would be privatised, while liberalisation would enhance the risk of addiction.

The government adopted the changes in September, and they passed second reading in parliament in early February, with the final vote being initially scheduled for tomorrow.

In the referendum initiative, the centre-left parties argue that gaming legislation is intended to have a high degree of regulation because the gaming industry is an activity that accumulates above-average revenue while at the same time causing harm to society by making individuals addicted to games, destroying families.

This is the reason why any change has to be based on “a serious analysis”, while the changes does not provide nor any other expert basis for such changes.

The parties claim the changes are meant to serve “harmful partial interests”, adding there is no need to expand the number of providers of classic gaming from two to five.

The changes aim to abolish licences for gaming professions, which the referendum proponents say would primarily affect workers and in the long-run also the economy.

The government is moreover criticised for bypassing social dialogue in drafting the bill, so “in line with the fundamental democratic principles, the people should decide on these harmful and risky changes”.