A step closer for Poland's anti-gambling law

Politicians try to outrun corruption scandal by clamping down on the industry

Politicians in the eastern European nation of Poland moved a step closer to implementation of severe gambling resrictions Tuesday when they approved a draft law proposed by Prime Minister Donald Tusk (see previous InfoPowa reports).

The tightened law seeks to ban slot machines outside casinos and raise taxes for the industry, the prime minister's chancellery said Tuesday. According to the draft law, there will be no new permits issued to existing facilities with slot machines, while video lotteries will be banned. The position on Internet gambling remained unclear at press time.

The draft law now goes to parliament and the president, Lech Kaczynski, both of whom are expected to approve it.

The announcement comes weeks after Tusk's government was hit by a scandal in which several ministers were accused of lobbying on behalf of the gambling industry.

Tusk forced several ministers to resign in a move that was seen as an effort to shore up his faltering approval ratings in advance of next year's presidential election, in which he is rumoured to be a candidate. But critics warn that the country needs long-term solutions to tackle corruption in politics, and that Warsaw is focusing on the gambling problem to steer attention away from government corruption.

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