Luxembourg: State Lottery sets up machines
In Luxembourg, the organization of games of chance is unique and only the state lottery of Luxembourg, the Loterie Nationale Luxembourg, is permitted. In recent years, however, the company has increasingly complained that illegal slot machines can be found in the country's bars and cafes. However, there was apparently no real support from the authorities. And so the state lottery has now simply decided to fight the illegal machines with its own legal slot machines. Can this plan work?
Pilot brings around 60 vending machines to cafes and bars
The fight theLoterie Nationale Luxembourg against illegal gambling offers goes into the next round. As the newspaper "L'essentiel" reports, the state lottery has started a new pilot project. Specifically, this is about the installation of own slot machines in the country, with which theproliferation of illegal slot machines should be fought. In Luxembourg, gambling is actually only permitted under the umbrella of the state lottery. In recent years in particular, however, more and more illegal slot machines have spread across the country. The law enforcement authorities hardly take any action against this problem, although in many cases the bars and cafes openly present the illegal vending machines. Experts estimate thatthere are now more than 1,200 illegal devices in the country.
So far, the state lottery has relied on the support of the authorities left, but probably bet on the "wrong horse". After several complaints have not been registered or processed, the decision has now been made to launch a pilot project in order to be able to set up their own slot machines in the country.A total of around 60 machines are to be set up in the coming days.
Major attack against illegal slot machines
Like the country's media report, setting up their own machines can definitely be seen as a major attack by the state lottery. It is apparently planned toset up the legal devices in the immediate vicinity of the illegal machines. In this way, customers should be encouraged to place their bets in the legal devices. According to media reports, players can choose between a good ten games on each device. Various slot games can be found here, but also digital roulette. The system behind the machines is similar to that currently used in many arcades and casinos in Kenya. Players mustfirst draw a ticket from a machine and insert it into the slot machine. Only then can you play. If a profit is made, it is booked directly on the respective ticket and can later be exchanged for real money.
León Losch, the head of the national lottery, has complained several times in the past about the lax handling of the legislators concerned with the illegal gambling offerings, stating:
“There are approximately 1,200 slot machines in the cafes and bars of this country that are unregistered and the number is still growing. The relevant laws exist and are unequivocal. So it would be very easy to take care of the problem. Mainly because some cafés seem more like a small arcade than a café.”
Losch is referring to the fact that some operators no longer even bother to sell their illegal slot machines to hide. And that, although at least in theory there areheavy penalties of up to six months imprisonment and a fine of 25,000 euros for the operation of illegal vending machines in the law book. But the operators obviously do not have to fear these penalties. The country actually takes strict action against illegal gambling. Only the state lottery and Casino 2000 are allowed to make their gambling offers available. Arcades or similar are banned across the country. Online casino games are also prohibited, with online lotto being treated as an exception.
Critics are skeptical
In order to be able to realize its own plan for legal machines, the state lottery is of course dependent on the help of the operators. As reported, both parties are said to have agreed on a 30/70 deal.30 percent of the winnings from the machines remain with the bar owners, the remaining 70 percent go to the state lottery. This in turn uses the money to support charitable projects and organizations. For this reason in particular, it is very important to push the illegal machines off the market, according to the lottery. After all, between 2016 and 2018, around 37 percent less turnover could have been reported at the company's own terminals.According to the state lottery, the more than 100 charitable projects suffer from this, in particular, some of which are enormously dependent on this money.
What in theory first of all sounds like a smart move, in the eyes of some critics it is more of a desperate attempt to get your own machines up and running. The state lottery would therefore gamble above all in the distribution of income. Although the operators bring in 30 percent of the legal profits,with illegal devices, however, the earnings can be significantly increased. Critics therefore claim that it is naïve for the state lottery to think that the problem can really be gotten under control in this way. In fact, this may only be a small part of a long journey. In recent years, illegal gambling has spread more and more in the country.The legislature and law enforcement agencies in particular are required here. As long as the operators earn well with the illegal vending machines and do not have to fear any consequences, the picture is unlikely to change. A rethinking of the law will also be necessary here. In Luxembourg, countless casino games and gambling variants are simply banned. However, bans have always led to the illegal market being strengthened. A change in the law would probably be the best way to take the wind out of its sails.