Roman Catholic bishops in Slovakia are not happy with the Las Vegas-based gambling group Harrah’s Entertainment. The group is set to build Europe’s largest mega-casino complex just outside of Bratislava. While the proposed casino is fully compliant with Slovakian gambling laws, the church is “opposed in principle” to all forms of gambling, and are against the project on all fronts.
“Games of hazard are ethically questionable,” say the bishops. “They damage the person and society, and the economic benefits flowing from them are highly doubtful.” Slovakia is already host to more than a dozen casinos, but nothing on the scale of the Harrah’s project.
The new casino complex will be erected on a 30 hectare (74 acre) plot in Jarovce, south of Bratislava and very close to the Austrian border. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico backs the project, which is expected to be completed by 2015. The complex will cost $2.2 billion to erect, and will include shopping malls, hotels and adventure parks.
The economic potential of the project is clear. The casino complex is expected to attract five million tourists each year, and would create 28 000 new jobs. The state would benefit from a 19 percent tax levied on the establishment.
Gambling is permitted throughout Slovakia. Slot machines can be found in local pubs and coffee houses, while hundreds of sports betting shops dot the streets of the country’s cities. Online gambling in Slovakia, while legal, has not caught on as strongly as land-based gambling. This is mostly because of the lack of locally-hosted internet casinos. Many Slovakians do, however, gamble on websites hosted in other countries, and there are a number of online gaming sites that offer their services in the Slovakian language.