Plug pulled on all electronic games

Conceding that it is unable to crack down on the transformation of innocuous video games into illegal gambling machines, the government yesterday said it would ban all electronic games from video arcades, hotels and other public areas. «All forms of electronic games will be abolished, including games involving skill, from public areas and establishments,» Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis told journalists after a Cabinet meeting. He said the government would table a draft law to that effect in the next fortnight. Government spokesman Christos Protopappas said video arcade owners could electronically change perfectly legal video games into gambling machines. «We decided that it would be very difficult to fully inspect thousands of machines. So… we banned all electronic games.» Opposition New Democracy immediately accused the government of «admitting that the country is sinking into corruption.» «A prerequisite for the implementation of any decision is that an efficient state exists that can oversee the implementation of its own rules and punish those who break them,» party spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said. Yesterday’s decision comes in the wake of a heated public debate on illegal gambling, prompted by the revelation – by TV journalist Makis Triandafyllopoulos – that the chairman of a parliamentary committee against illegal gambling, PASOK MP Alexandros Chryssanthakopoulos, gambled on illegal slot machines in his home constituency of Patras, in the northwestern Peloponnese.

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