Industry media has reported that the land-based gambling industry in Czechia is soaring and just recently the Finance Minister, Alena Schillerová, has declared victory in the battle to restrict, monitor – and collect taxes from – casinos and gaming machine bars.
Over the past seven years, she told reporters, the number of casinos has dropped by three-quarters and the number of gaming machines by nearly half, to under 39,000 at last count.
In an interview with Radio.cz, Schillerová told reporters:
“I’m definitely very satisfied with how things are going. The Czech Republic has ceased to be a casino in the heart of Europe. Since January 2012, the number of casinos is down from 7,600 to roughly 1,800 – one quarter as many.”
Despite the extensive crackdown, the korunas keep rolling in for the government. Total gambling spend in 2017 and 2018 was up 14% to CZK224bn ($9.9bn; £7.6bn), while revenues were up a more modest 1.1% at CZK39.8bn ($1.77bn; £1.35bn).
Minister Schillerová said this is proof that the Gambling Law of 2017 is working. And while most brick-and-mortar casinos were re-licensed, they are now operating under tougher restrictions which aim to fight addiction – and tax evasion. Casinos are obliged to register players, for example, take breaks in the action, and help gamblers exercise self-control.
The Ministry of Finance is readying an IT system that will include a list of people banned from gambling. These including people on welfare, facing distraint or in bankruptcy proceedings.
Online gambling was the big winner when talking about tax incomes, unsurprisingly after the mass closure of land-based opportunities to gamble. Online gambling now accounts for more than 20% of the total sector in the Czech Republic.
During the third edition of Prague Gaming Summit, leading experts of the industry from Czechia will present their view upon the developments of the gambling industry during the past 3 years.
The panel will be moderated by Jaka Repanšek (Media and Gaming Expert) and the leading experts of the gambling industry who are joining the panel discussion are: Jan Rehola (Lawyer, PS Legal), Tal Zamstein (Group Head of Gaming, Fortuna Group), Jakub Kolomicenko (Head of legal department, Endorphina) and Vojtech Chloupek (Partner at Bird & Bird).