The idea of a casino being opened in Iceland has been introduced by the Minister of Industry, despite casinos being currently illegal. The Ministry of Health is opposed to the idea.
Fréttablaðið reports that Icelandair would like to open a casino at Hótel Nordica, and have put in a formal request with the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Industry to legalize casinos. Björgólfur Jóhannesson, the director of Icelandair, argues that a casino would be an added tourist attraction for the country. Using the Danish model, it would be taxed heavily – 60% of proceeds would go directly to the government.
Minister of Industry Katrín Júlíusdóttir introduced the idea to parliament, and told Fréttablaðið that she sees both the pros and cons of the idea. On the one hand, it could bring in more revenue for the state, but on the other hand, gambling addiction is a serious condition.
Minister of Health Álfheiður Ingadóttir told Vísir that the ministry is against the idea altogether, saying that Iceland already has enough to offer tourists, and that gambling addiction is just as dangerous an illness as drug addiction.
Gambling is legal to a degree in Iceland. There is a lottery, and there are numerous digital slot machines that can be found pretty much everywhere. Casinos, however, are illegal, so the law would need to be changed accordingly before plans to build a casino could go forward.