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Gambling addiction

European Human Rights Court Takes on Icelandic Gambling Case

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has decided to take on Guðlaugur Jakob Karlsson’s case against the Icelandic state, Morgunblaðið reports. Guðlaugur says the Icelandic state is breaking the law by allowing the operating of slot machines, which led him to become addicted to gambling, causing him financial and emotional harm.

The case is made on the grounds that the licences for slot machine operation issued by the government are contrary to Article 183 of the Penal Code, which prohibits gambling. Guðlaugur is demanding ISK 76,800,000 ($623,000/€565,000) from the state in damages, in addition to the cost of legal expenses. His lawyer Þórður Sveinsson says the case is on the ECHR’s agenda, though it is not yet known when it will be processed.

Guðlaugur initially charged the Icelandic state for damages in 2016. The Reykjavík District Court dismissed the case in October of 2017. The ruling was confirmed by the Court of Appeal in October 2018. Guðlaugur then applied to the Supreme Court of Iceland for right of appeal, but his application was rejected.

Þórður says the case raises various questions about the legislation concerning gambling in Iceland. “Slot machines are allowed, which are defined as the most extreme form of gambling. And then people are charged for inviting others to play roulette and poker for money,” he stated.

Iceland Review covered Iceland’s gambling regulations in a recent issue.

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