Righting the Czech iGaming Market: Legislation Could Be ImminentPublished May 30, 2016 by Lee R
Opening up the border to international operators and proactive restriction stand out.
The Czech Republic is closing on opening Internet gaming to international operators after proposed new gambling legislation survived a senate vote.
A vote of 42-0 in the Czech Senate with 23 abstaining now leaves it to the discretion of President Miloš Zeman to decide within the next 30 days to sign approval that would bring the proposal into effect no earlier than January 1, 2017.
Seeking to meet the compliance standards of the European Commission guidelines for free e-commerce, the new legislation would open the door for Czech market entry via the acceptance of licensing applications from international gambling operators based in the European Union and the European Economic Area. This would add to the five currently licensed operators within the Czech Republic market now.
The tax rates appear unappetizing to new competitors, as the new iGaming bill calls for casino games to be taxed at 35% of annual gross gaming revenue and lotteries and sports betting options 23%. These taxes are levied in addition to the standard corporate tax within the country of 19% that all online gambling companies will be charged.
To protect players from addiction, the legislation calls for the establishment of a national exclusion database where individuals could block themselves from accessing online gambling websites. Said database would further prevent bankrupt Czech nationals as well as individuals receiving financial assistance from the country from gambling online.
As for unlicensed operators, the bill would authorize the Czech Ministry of Finance to block unlicensed gambling websites and payments to and from such websites. The comprehensive bill also would regulate unlawful advertising by unlicensed operators.
The rigorousness of the legislation indicates some promising and innovative preventative measures which could be duplicated by other incoming regulation systems in and around Europe. We will see how motivated operators are to join the market despite the healthy tax percentage.