From Iceland — FINALLY: Bingo During Christian Holidays No Longer Illegal In Iceland

FINALLY: Bingo During Christian Holidays No Longer Illegal In Iceland

Published June 13, 2019

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Creative Commons

If you decide to spend Easter playing bingo in Iceland, you will no longer be breaking the law, thanks to legislative changes made earlier this week.

As RÚV reports, these changes were introduced to Parliament last February in the form of a bill from former Minister of Justice Sigríður Á Andersen. It was approved by Yes votes from 44 members of Parliament last Tuesday, with No votes coming solely from the Centre Party.

In effect, bingo tournies are now permitted during the numerous nationally-recognised Christian holidays. For the unfamiliar, these holidays are Sundays, New Year’s Day, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Ascension Day, Whitsunday, Whitmonday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

In addition to bingo, other sorts of lotteries and festivities are also permitted. Furthermore, many types of business will now be permitted on these days, including accommodation, pharmacies, petrol stations, duty-free, florists and grocers.

However, the ban on art exhibitions, film screenings and theatre performances on these days still stands, although the police can offer special permission for them.

The bingo ban has been a source of confusion and frustration for many modern Icelanders. This is especially prevalent during Easter, when the police have even issued warnings to the public not to play bingo on that day. This has prompted acts of civil disobedience, such as the annual bingo match at Austurvöllur, typically held on Good Friday.

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