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Czech Republic Looking to Allow Online Casinos and Raise Taxes

22 April 2014

The Czech Republic is one of the European countries that are looking forward to opening up to online gambling. Up to now, the legislation has been considered insufficient, especially since it was too restrictive for local casino software development companies and operators.

Fortunately for gaming entrepreneurs, the Czech government is currently drafting a bill that would allow internet gambling operations in the country. Deputy Finance Minister Ondrej Zavodsky recently commented that lawmakers want to pass a law that would allow operators and casino software development companies to provide slot games or table games for Czech gaming enthusiasts. The bill is expected to become valid in 2016, when control over the local gaming industry will also be tightened.

Czech regulators also declared that the gaming industry will see higher tax levels in the near future. The gambling bill that is about to be passed would separate tax rates for different types of casino games. Thus, Zavodsky said that the indirect costs for the state stemming from online gambling, including table games and slots, are several times higher than the revenue it collects. The new tax rates would advantage lottery companies, which would have to pay lower taxes than casino operators.

At this point in time, casino software development companies and online operators cannot offer online casino games to Czech residents, but the land-based gambling industry in the country is thriving. At the end of March, the Czech Republic housed around 58,841 gaming machines, the country having the highest number of bars that obtained gambling licenses worldwide.

The legalization of the online casino industry in the Czech Republic will not only be beneficial for casino operators and casino software development companies, but also for the state. The expansion of the gaming market would contribute in terms of jobs and revenue. Furthermore, the number of unlicensed operators who currently offer illegal Czech versions of gambling sites would also be reduced. The Czech government has been criticized in the past for the lack of punitive measures that should have been applied to unlicensed operators, who easily offered Czech consumers a wide range of gambling games.

22 April 2014

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