Czech Republic Online Casino Guide

Gambling Industry Overview in Czech Republic

The following approaches will be presented

  • Gambling legislation in Czech Republic
  • Gambling authorities in Czech Republic
  • Online casinos in Czech Republic
  • and more

Flag of Czech RepublicGambling activities on the territory of the Czech Republic are widespread and the country is recognized as the European country that holds the first place when it comes to the frequency residents take part in gambling activities.

Currently, the number of traditional casinos spread throughout the country, exceeds 100. In addition, the most common gambling machines are usually found in arcades, gaming bars, cafes, pubs, etc.

Although the ratio is one gaming machine per 200 residents, those who have long-term memory reminded that the gambling sector in the Czech Republic was not always that thriving. The early 1990s saw the revival of the gambling market, which is expected to have its peak in the next few years.

However, the inadequate measures taken towards the gambling regulation over the past two decades, made the sector face some serious obstacles that are not easy to overcome as they lead to social and political issues.

Overview

Gambling Legislation in Czech RepublicAs already mentioned, residents of the Czech Republic seem to be keen on engaging in various gambling activities but the legislation issues pose a setback to the development of the industry and especially to the online gambling segment as foreign operators have to deal with tough restrictions.

The Ministry of Finance is the primary institution in charge of granting licenses to operators willing to provide betting services but some exceptions apply. For the time being, available operators on the territory of the Czech Republic are Fortuna, Tipsport, Sazka, Synot, Chance.

Operators, available on the gambling market, are supposed to pay solid fees. Strange as it may seem, the Czech Republic gambling regulators pay considerable attention to the licensed operators, while those available on the unregulated markets are basically left to freely provide their services. Some of them even maintain .cz domains and provide their services in Czech language.

Gambling authorities have been unwilling to pay closer attention to the unlicensed gambling operators issue as they did not regard their activities as something illegal.

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Yet, they decided to limit their presence and started a campaign against the popularization of unlicensed operators, which led to disagreements with broadcasters.

Authorities’ inactivity caused disagreements with the licensed operators that claimed their business is seriously harmed as their unlicensed competitors offer a wider variety of gambling services.

They urged gambling authorities to reconsider the existing legislation, amend the laws and allow local operators provide their products in online format.

Apart from the betting providers, the European Commission also questioned the adequacy of the gambling laws of the country and demanded them to be promptly reviwed and made compatible with the requirements set by the European Union.

Some amendments were applied indeed. Licensed operators are no longer obliged to be located in the Czech Republic. The availability of an office is enough, according to the latest law amendments. Basically, the latter enabled international operators to enter the gambling market.

However, it will take some time before they start offering the full range of services online, which seems to be an obstacle that might restrain international operators from applying for a license.

History of Gambling Regulation in the Czech Republic

Back in 1956, Sazka SA was established and it has been the leader on the market for quite some time. In the early 1990s, Tipsport started offering sports betting services. Soon after, the market was further diversified and Fortuna was established, after which Synop Tip was founded.

Meanwhile, the casino industry also expanded and the number of casino venues rapidly grew over a short period of time.

This, therefore, led to problem gambling issues and ten years ago, imminent actions were taken towards the reduction in the number of casinos available on the territory of the Czech Republic.

The gambling policy also suggested online gambling activities to be limited to fixed-odds games and casino games to be prohibited. In addition, the requirements determined sportsbooks registered within the Czech Republic to be allowed to operate.

Back in 2012, the new gambling regulation approved by the Czech government caused serious disagreements and the amended laws were found incompatible with the requirements of the European Commission. That is why the implementation of the regulation was cancelled in order to be further reviewed.

This year is expected to be critical to the gambling affairs of the Czech Republic as the taxes operators will have to pay are to be further discussed and the amended laws are to come into force within a few months.

The dynamic development of the gambling activities over the years led to a rapid popularization of electronic gaming machines. The free access to gambling machines caused erious problems and as a result, some municipalities opted for banning them, which created tension among the regulators and the municipal officials.

The aim of the bill compiled in 2014 was to clarify the requirements under which gambling activities can be performed in the country.

According to the latest legislation expected to come into force at the beginning of 2016, slot machines will not be available in pubs and bars but only in specialized venues. Gambling addiction matters have also been taken into consideration and a database of players is to be created with the aim of preventing addiction and the financial troubles it leads to.

The soon-to-be-implemented regulation is compatible with the requirements of the European Commission and apart from that, international operators are free to apply for a license and provide their services to Czech Republic-based customers.

As for the taxes operators currently pay, they depend on the kind of game they offer. They vary between 6% and 20% and the funds are used for social, medical, environmental, etc. projects regarded as beneficial to the society. Gambling activities that fall under the category of “Games of Chance” are not subject to VAT.

Online Gambling

Internet Gambling in Czech RepublicThe Czech Republic is expected to further expand its online gambling sector but there are some prerequisites that need to be met and legislative matters to be solved. As reported above, the majority of operators requested gambling regulators to allow them provide online services, Fortuna Group being among those.

Currently, there are five operators that provide certain online gambling services but the Czech Republic authorities are yet to issue an online casino license.

The changes that are expected to come into force in 2016, are believed to live up to the expectations for technological features, competition and last but not least, players’ security.

Once the new regulation comes into force, a tax increase will be imposed and it is expected to reach 40%.

The ministry of Finance has settled down around the idea of taxing the unlicensed operators and compensate for the taxes that have been lost up to now. That announcement made the majority of operators reconsider their presence on the market and eventually consider the opportunity for leaving the gambling sector of the Czech Republic.

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