Since it’s been part of our lives for a number of years, it’s easy to forget that some countries have only just imposed smoking bans.
Romania – former home of Vlad The Impaler (above) – is one such nation. It wasn’t until the closing months of 2015 that the Romanian parliament passed legislation the upshot of which is that smoking will be banned in public spaces the nation over as of 16th March.
All of which is causing the country’s gambling operators palpitations as they fret over the impact said laws will have upon casino business.
And as Romania’s gamblers are biting their nails – or, as is more probable, smoking as if it’s just about to be made illegal – so they have been quick to point up the hypocrisy that means that smoking will remain legal in maximum security prisons and airport transport lounges.
In conversation with Wall-street.ro, Violet Radoi – the executive director of the slots organisers association ROMSLOT – explained that, “European experience has shown that in other countries, banning smoking in the halls of game had serious repercussions on revenue of operators, which have fallen by 30 to 40%.”
Ms Radoi also pointed up that the gambling industry currently contributes £471 million to the annual state budget, a figure she fears will collapse now the smoking legislation is in effect.
Furthermore, the ROMSLOT exec claimed that, while smoking bans are in effect in Italy, Belgium, Sweden and Austria, all four countries have granted gambling halls a special exemption.