The Czech Republic joined the European Union on May 1st, 2004, but still uses the local currency, the Czech Koruna (CZK). The country has a population of 10 538 275, statistics of 2015, that live in a territory with 78 868 km², being Prague the capital. Czech is the language spoken.
In what gambling is concerned, the Czech Republic is one of the European countries where these activities are more widespread. The country has over 100 casinos, and gambling machines still exist in bars, cafes, arcades, and other similar places.
Czech residents are the ones that gamble more in Europe, and we can find a gaming machine for every 200 inhabitants, an impressive number! This boom in gambling in the Czech Republic is something recent though because if we go back to the period when Czechoslovakia still existed (The Czech Republic and Slovakia were born as independent countries on January 1st, 1993) we had a fairly different situation.
The existing legislation is actually a setback to the legal growth of the industry. Particularly in what concerns online gambling there are heavy restrictions that make it difficult for foreign operators to enter the market.
Presently the only gambling operators are Chance, Fortuna, Tipsport, Sazka, and Synod, and these pay high fees to be licensed and are also object of much attention from the authorities, what seems to be a paradox considering that there are unregulated operators that can provide service with no control.
Gambling authorities don’t want to face unlicensed operators as they don’t think they are illegal. Naturally, this led to disagreements with the operators who actually pay for their licenses and that feel their business is suffering from disloyal competition.
Not only the unlicensed companies don’t pay any fees, but they can also offer all the gambling services they want with no control. The situation has reached a point where both licensed companies as well as the European Commission, have asked the Czech government to review the existing legislation and make adequate laws.
In the past, there was the suggestion that gambling online should be just for fixed-odds games, what would forbid casino games. Recently, in 2012, the approved regulation for the country proved to be incompatible with European Union requirements, what led to further disagreements among gambling companies.
Legislative debate is still ongoing in the Czech Republic, namely in what concerns the taxes that these operators have to pay to be fully licensed. Most operators have asked permission to the regulator to provide online services, but no online casino licenses have been issued yet.
The existing scenario for physical gambling can easily be replicated to online gambling, meaning, just some operators are regulated, but poor laws allow any unlicensed operator to put online an illegal site just by adding a .cz domain extension. The existing restrictive laws for the licensed operators contrast with the lack of control for these unlicensed companies.
Czech authorities mention that they don’t see anything criminal in the operation of unlicensed operators, but those paying for licenses certainly think otherwise. The lack of regulation is such that those unlicensed operators even advertise on TV for their services. No fines or other measures have been taken by the government against this activity.
Seen from the outside, it seems a strange behavior that supports unlicensed operators in opposition to those paying licenses, so there is no surprise that new legislation is being asked by these last, along with quite a few other EU countries like Germany and Sweden, and even the EU is investigating the legality of such actions.
Reasonable legislation that enables the offer of gambling services at an average tax rate is a necessity, or else no company will apply for licenses and online gambling in the Czech Republic will continue to have a market operating in this dubious way.
Where to play
Meanwhile, and considering the existing scenario in the Czech Republic, we present some casinos where Czech residents can play, even if some of them are not available in the Czech language.
|Euro Palace||Video Slots||Guts Casino|
|Royal Panda||Royal Vegas||Mr Green|