From Iceland — Casino Drama Continues: "We Have Gullfoss and Geysir and Not Much More"

Casino Drama Continues: “We Have Gullfoss and Geysir and Not Much More”

Published February 10, 2010

Former football stars and current venture capitalists Arnar og Bjarki Gunnlaugsson want a casino in Iceland, too, telling reporters that Iceland really doesn’t have much to offer tourists.
Icelandair proposed earlier this week that parliament legalize casinos, so that Hótel Nordica could house one. They contend it would be a tourist attraction, and that 60% of its revenue could go to the state. The National Center of Addiction Medicine has issued a statement saying it is opposed to the idea of building a casino in Iceland, as has the Minister of Health, both contending that gambling addiction is a serious illness, and that Iceland already has enough to offer tourists.
The Gunnlaugsson brothers, however, not only support the idea of the casino, but Bjarki Gunnlaugsson went so far as to tell Fréttablaðið that, “We have Gullfoss and Geysir and not much else,” in terms of what Iceland has to offer tourists. In response to concerns over gambling addiction, he added that the casino could be open to foreigners only.
Fréttablaðið editor Jón Kaldal contended in an opinion piece that the pro-casino people suffer from an image problem. He argues that in English, the word “casino” implies a place where fun is had, whereas the Icelandic word – “spilavíti” – sounds more like some dismal torture chamber. He proposes that the word “spilastofa”, loosely translated as “gaming parlor”, be used instead.

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