housands of protestors took to the streets of Kiev in front of President Viktor Yushchenko’s residence armed with loud-hailers and placards to demand that he veto the law setting out the ban.
Slogans such as “Don’t deprive us of work,” and “Shame” were chanted outside the President’s office as workers expressed their anger at him approving the law, which had been introduced after a fire claimed the lives of nine people at a slot machine hall in Dnipropetrovsk.
At the time, lawmakers who backed the ban reasoned that they were worried about a sudden rise in the number of slot machines and claimed they were acting to protect the morale and health of the population, but many casino managers have criticised the decision as being little more than a knee-jerk reaction to the tragedy.
Olesky Konshin, director of the Aurum Casino in Kiev, told reporters: “If there is an accident in a factory, we don’t ban the entire industry – the state has simply slammed the door shut.”
With the some 4,000 companies operating roughly 13,000 gaming halls around the Ukraine, the president of the Ukrainian Casinos Association, Anatoly Nesterenko has warned that should the blanket ban be allowed to go ahead, it will leave “more than 200,000 Ukrainians without work”.