The Gambling Regulatory Authority seized 54 illegal slot machines in a recent nationwide raid. This is the second successful action taken by the Authority in the past four months to combat this type of illegal gambling.
In particular, so-called mining machines and quiz machines are seized. The majority were taken on the basis of searches carried out by inspectors from the Gambling Regulatory Office (URHH). “As these slot machines have not been issued or obtained a valid license, we consider them to be illegal. Our staff are actively monitoring the occurrence of these machines; most of them have been seized due to of their hard work. Some have also been seized because of complaints from players,” said URHH Director General Dávid Lenčéš.
The recent seizures were carried out in all regions in accordance with Section 11 of Section 81 of the Gambling Act in cooperation with the police forces. According to the Director General of URHH, the role of the police was to maintain public order and the safety of employees as public officials, as not all seizures went smoothly. “There have been instances in the past of office staff being physically assaulted or having to remove certain equipment by professional locksmiths. Illegal operators sometimes try to make seizure impossible by fixing the machines firmly against the ground or the wall.
Under the Gaming Act, small operators, such as pubs, cannot operate slot machines. The URHH must authorize each slot machine since it is the only official body authorized to issue a license.
However, some speculators attempt to circumvent the law by operating machines that have been “authorized” by other entities or by posing as knowledge contests or cryptocurrency mining machines. In each case, URHH carefully examines whether a game of chance is taking place on the device, regardless of its name, visuals or type of device.
The largest number of machines was seized in the autonomous region of Bratislava, accounting for half of all. Nine machines were detained in the Košice region, 8 in the Banská Bystrica region, 7 in the Nitra region, 2 in the Žilina region and 1 in the Prešov region. Of the 54 machines seized nationwide, the majority were cryptocurrency mines.
A “mining machine” is a device that claims to be used to mine cryptocurrencies, and a “quiz machine” appears to be a game of knowledge. In both cases, the game played on these machines fulfills the characteristics of gambling. However, for these games of chance, the Authority is not granted an individual license; if someone is operating them without a permit, it is definitely an illegal activity.
The operation of games of chance without an issued license is prohibited in Slovakia.
In many cases, these were premises where illegal technical equipment had been seized. “Their operators are unable to teach because they are again using illegal machines despite previous experience. On the other hand, there are more and more machines whose owners are persuaded by the vision of profit and place unlicensed machines on their premises. According to § 95 article 2 point h) of the Gambling Act, these operators are liable to a fine of between EUR 20,000 and EUR 250,000. said David Lenčéš. A fine of up to 500,000 EUR incurs the owners of the slot machines if it is proven that they operate games without an individual license or a general license. The sealed slot machines were transported to the URHH warehouse, from where they will go to further proceedings.