“I don’t believe that.” In the village, they found out that the town hall had approved two casinos for their houses

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The residents of Chrášťany in Central Bohemia cannot believe their ears: they are only now finding out that their representatives signed an agreement with representatives of two large gambling companies at the end of February.

According to this agreement, two large casinos with slot machines and live games will be built in the village with 1,100 inhabitants. One of them will stand right at the beginning of a growing neighborhood of new apartment buildings. The casino will replace today’s “Full Belly” restaurant and car service behind the restaurant.

“Casino? Oops”

According to the agreement, the companies Bonver Win and CEC Praha will deposit the money into the municipal account. In exchange, the town hall guarantees that it will not prevent them from operating gambling.

“A casino should be built instead of that pub? Oops. A casino is never good, like this in a village,” shakes her head from a retired woman who lives in one of the houses right behind the restaurant.

“If we knew about it, nobody would want it here. A casino is a casino. It takes away from the surroundings exactly what nobody wants,” says her neighbor Mirka.

Many other residents of Chrášťany do not want a casino either.

“Now I found out. It’s stupid, like that in the village. It’s completely unnecessary, I don’t like it,” says an employee of a local school, and her colleague nods. They do not want to reveal the names – in a village with a thousand inhabitants, people know each other.

Only rarely in the village will you come across someone who is looking forward to the casino. Two young men in overalls are walking down the street, locals they say. While the former does not like gambling in the village, the latter welcomes it. “I support it. I will visit him,” he says convincingly.

Mayor: There will be money to repair the street and the park

Chrášťany is located on the first kilometer of the Pilsen highway, right on the border of the capital. And that is precisely why they have come into the sights of gambling operators – Prague has banned the operation of slot machines, and without them the companies do not want to operate most of the “casinos” in the capital. In recent months, companies have had their licenses expire or will soon expire, and in recent years they have therefore been intensively looking for where to move their business and their clientele.

For a long time, the company Bonver Win tried to anchor in nearby Tuchoměřice. However, due to the strong resistance of the locals, its representatives did not march.

And so they began to negotiate quietly with the representatives of the Chrášťany.

“They came up with an offer that they would give the municipality five million crowns as a one-time donation plus another 200,000 per year for the permit. We said that we are probably not willing to think about it for this money and that we would like 10 million plus 250 thousand a year. We thought the condition would deter them. However, what happened was that the operators came and said that they accept this condition,” says Chrášťany mayor Pavel Hrdlička.

This amount is to be paid by each of the two gambling companies, so the municipality will improve by 20 million and another half a million annually into the budget. Additional money can be brought in by casinos as part of the redistribution of gambling taxes.

Photo: List of News

Sketch of a new casino. Most of the space is occupied by slot machines.

According to the mayor, the municipality has a problem financing some projects, because it took on debt for school reconstruction. With twenty new millions in the account, the municipality can start building things that would otherwise have to wait several years, for example the reconstruction of U Cihelny street, where a new residential area is coming up and where a new casino is also to be built.

“When the casino offer came, we simply evaluated it in such a way that we would not have to postpone pending projects, such as the reconstruction of that road or the rest zone in the park,” says the mayor. It shows sketches of a casino to be built in a restaurant and car repair shop building.

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Photo: List of News

Mayor Pavel Hrdlička shows how one of the two casinos should look.

According to him, the town hall concluded a cooperation agreement with gambling companies for ten years. A license to operate gambling is then always granted for three years in advance.

Why did the representatives not discuss such an explosive topic publicly with the residents?

“We wanted them not to be under a lot of pressure, so that they could make a decision based on their best knowledge and conscience. And this is how we evaluated it as the best solution. I can assure everyone that certainly none of the representatives has a stake in any of those companies or owns the land, as you will read somewhere in the discussions,” says the mayor.

At the same time, it is not a completely abstract idea – during negotiations on the construction of two casinos in the original locality of nearby Tuchoměřice, it became clear that one of the representatives owns the land on which the casino was supposed to stand.

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And isn’t the mayor of Chrášťany afraid that local residents will spend money in the casino and that this will bring social problems to the village?

“Of course, we also dealt with that. But I think online gaming is a much bigger problem. Here, the people are at least under some control,” says Hrdlička.

Violent resistance

Local residents are learning about the concluded agreement only now. They discuss violently on social networks, convene meetings at the town hall, some do not even believe that the agreement was reached without their knowledge. For example, Libor, who is currently cleaning up the mowed grass not far from the municipal office building.

“I can’t believe they approved it. I know all the representatives well. I don’t believe that they would approve something like that,” he shakes his head.

The article is in Czech

Tags: dont village town hall approved casinos houses

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