In June 2016, a new gambling law was adopted in the Czech Republic. Effective January 1, 2017. Suppliers who want to make their luck games available to Czech customers must apply for a license in the future. Providers without a concession are to be blocked by the internet providers. In addition, strict tax levies are foreseen and as few licenses as possible. At the end of 2016, William Hill became the first prominent gaming player in the Czech market.
Lucky games are particularly popular in the Czech Republic. As in many European countries, however, providers have been moving in a gray zone. The market was not regulated, but foreign companies were not. The revenues of the cities and municipalities through gambling were enormous, especially in the border regions of Germany and Austria as well as in the capital city of Prague. In 2015, the bidders paid 260 million euros in gambling taxes. But for a few years now, the authorities have been stepping up against gambling.
Gambling machines are taxed at 35 percent
Last year, a new gambling law was passed, which now came into effect at the turn of the year. The law applies in particular to the taxation of gambling. Gambling machines are now taxed at 35 percent, the remaining gambling at 23 percent. In the Czech Republic there are about 60,000 game machines, which is a decent size for a population of ten million people. Further innovations are the introduction of a player register and a stronger control of the online pages. If you want to offer luck games in the future, you must apply for a Czech license. If you do not have a license, you are prohibited gambling. And in these cases the websites should be blocked. This is intended to restrict the existing freedom of famers from foreign suppliers. Live dealer casinos are to be completely banned.
Senators want to submit a constitutional complaint against the Internet
However, there are criticisms for the measures which are intended to prevent unlicensed online gambling. The Ministry of Finance is to regulate which web pages are blocked by Internet providers in the event of violations. The Senator Veronika Vrecionova considers this to be a matter for the Internet and wants to submit a constitutional complaint. To do so, she needs the signatures of 17 senators.
The Ministry of Finance argues that the blocking of websites is now a common tool, which is applied in most EU countries. The example is Denmark. There were more than 50 per cent of the gambling games offered illegally before internet lockouts. Meanwhile, the share had fallen to five percent. Jan Simkanic, head of the Association for the Development of the Internet in the Czech Republic, doubts that there is any way to prevent organized betting. The fraudsters are always one step ahead. All kinds of blockade could be handled very easily. One could only ban on a small scale. Whoever wants to play, he will do that anyway.
Banners, loss limits and minimum assignments do not make it into the law
The government, however, had to make a few cuts in its bill. Banners for play halls were disregarded. A casino could easily be opened next to a school. Loss limits and minimum contributions could not be included in the design.
The new law now has its first prominent victim. At the end of 2016, the British bookmaker William Hill informed his customers and affiliate partners in the Czech Republic that they would withdraw from the market. The withdrawal includes all gambling offers from William Hill, not only sports betting, but also online poker and casino games. The players were asked to pay off their balances. The affiliates should remove all advertising materials from their sides.
So far there are only less than 12 applications for a license
whether the withdrawal is final is still unclear. William Hill also wants to apply for one of the concessions. However, until this process is completed, the British tradition bookmaker retreats. However, the high taxes and further strict regulation requirements, seem to deter gambling providers. By 6 December 2016, less than 12 applications should be submitted for a concession. Among the applicants were mainly regional suppliers such as Fortuna Entertainment, Synot Tip and Sazka.