Iceland Lifts Ban That Prohibited Bingo, Among Other Events

Jun 19

Iceland - The gorgeous country of Iceland has made a crucial decision regarding gambling as it has lifted ban that barred bingo, among other events, on Sunday, paving the way for its citizens to enjoy it every day of the week.

Back in 1997, a law was passed that made it unlawful for people to engage in any kind of gambling, or to hold dances or private parties in restaurants on Sundays and religious holidays.

Exemptions were specifically made though, for art exhibitions, film screenings, and theatrical performances, but only after 3 pm.

This essentially meant that everything from a flutter on the lottery to a seat at bingo was strictly prohibited on Sunday.

The law was seldom enforced and protests were held in an effort to get it abolished. Religious holidays like Good Friday, Easter, and Christmas were also impacted. As a kind of an in-your-face protest, the Atheist organization Vantrú has staged a Good Friday bingo event for the last decade.

However, in February, a bill was presented by Independence Party MP and former Attorney General Sigríður Á. Andersen to abolish the law. It was successfully passed earlier this week with the support from both sides of the political spectrum.

The Centre party, however, voted unanimously against its passing.

Bingo is not the only thing that is back on the cards, as the new bill also upends the preceding regulation, which banned “hotel operations and related services, the operation of pharmacies, gas stations, car garages, shops at airports and duty-free, flower shops, kiosks, video rentals, as well as grocers with a retail space of less than 600 square meters (6,458 square feet) where at least two-thirds of the sales turnover is from foodstuffs, beverages, and tobacco.”

Andersen later wrote on social media site, Facebook, that she was pleased with the win, although she emphasized that the bill was not meant to detract from religious holidays.

Andersen explained: “With this, the last impediments to providing and enjoying services on the National Church’s specified religious holidays have been eliminated. The days in question are part of our Christian heritage and as such, they should, of course, be commemorated.”

The Icelandic government is currently taking a close eye on gambling in general.