Proposed Czech Gambling Bill Could Increase Restrictions on Players and Operators


Czech authorities have recently announced details of a new gaming bill seeking to offer gambling licenses to foreign companies, increase tax revenue, and tighten regulations.

The Czech Republic has a population of 10.5 million with gamblers inside the country spending more than $6 billion every year, according to Gambling Results. The economics of the gaming market in the Czech Republic have caught the attention of the government via potential tax revenues and foreign operators in terms of expansion.

Foreign gaming operators are unable to legally provide services in the Czech Republic unless they have a physical presence in the country. However, things could be changing since the country's Finance Ministry has proposed allowing foreign gaming operators and appropriately taxing them.

The Czech Republic Deputy Finance Minister Ondřej Závodský is one of the leaders of this proposed change, highlighting the huge amount of tax revenue left on the table. “Users currently bet abroad, which several foreign companies make easier by introducing sites in Czech. According to our estimates, the state misses out on more than 1 billion crowns a year in this segment.”

Tightened Regulations for Gaming Operators

The proposed gaming bill is also expected to contain increased restrictions on gaming operators. For starters, it is proposed to ban gaming machines in pubs, bars, and gas stations. Gaming would be mostly restricted to land-based casinos, gambling rooms, and betting offices.

The bill is also expected to focus on social responsibility. Závodský told reporters that gaming operators will need to determine “whether they [potential customers] live on social benefits, face bankruptcy, fail to pay maintenance, and whether they are on the list of gambling addicts.”

If this also applies to online gaming in addition to live gaming, the process could be too onerous for players to sign up.

Gaming Limits for Players

Závodský believes that players need to be protected via gaming limits, saying, "We would also like to introduce principles of responsible gambling, establishing maximum hourly and monthly bet limits."

Additionally, some players that are deemed problem players will be restricted from legally gambling. "On top of that, we want to prevent certain groups of people from gambling. These include gambling addicts undergoing treatment or those who owe money either to their families or to the state," Závodský said.

The limits are expected to be relatively low with the maximum hourly loss at Kč1,000 ($46) and the maximum monthly loss at Kč20,000 ($921). While these limits may be OK for some recreational gamblers and protect problem gamblers, it would be a severe detriment to anyone that takes gambling, especially poker, more seriously.

It is expected the proposed gaming bill could be implemented as soon as 2016 if it quickly passes.

Stay tuned at PokerNews as more develops in the Czech gaming marketplace.

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