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September 23, 2017

Gambling in the Czech Republic: An Industry Overview

Gambling in one form or another was present in humanity’s life since before history has been recorded. It was always a tool for spending time and taking risks, which – once it has taken organized forms – has represented a source of income both for the state and the people offering the service (and sometimes the player, too). Over the years, both the image of gambling and the gamblers have changed, and gambling as a whole has balanced between being considered either a profitable business or a dangerous vice. Nonetheless, it has become a subject of strict taxation and regulation, and even under these conditions, it has managed to maintain its status as a profitable business, both online and in a land-based environment. Let us take a look at gambling from a strictly business point of view to see how well it does today in the Czech Republic.

Online gambling

The access to online gambling operators to the Czech market has been mostly restricted, even though the locals do have a taste for slot machines and other games the Wild Jack and its likes have to offer. In May 2016, the local legislature approved a new bill that allows EU and EEA-based operators to apply for a gambling license. The law is only in effect since January 2017, so there are no meaningful data to share to this day. Independent international operators like the Wild Jack, based in either of the numerous EU-based jurisdictions like Gibraltar (which may leave the EU due to the Brexit), Malta, and some others, might apply for a license in the coming months or years. Those found illegally offering online gambling services to Czech citizens will most likely make it on the blacklist the government is set to prepare, with all access to its web properties blocked on an ISP level.

Hopefully, for the many gaming enthusiasts out there, there will be a lot more to report later.

Casinos and gambling dens

According to the latest numbers published by the ECA (European Casinos Association), the Czech Republic had 175 casinos in 2015, showing a pretty serious decline compared to the previous year (225 in 2014). Still, even though the number of establishments has declined, the number of people employed in the industry has grown from 2800 in 2013 to 3200 in 2015. This is likely due to the fact that the applicable legislation shifted to favoring larger operations, which led to the closing of smaller gambling outlets like herna bars. At the same time, the amount locals spent at the country’s land-based casinos has also increased, from €162 million in 2013 to €183 million in 2015.

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