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Sportka – a Game That Brought the Betting Spirit Among the Czechs

The history of Sazka dates back to 1956 when it was founded and subsequently entrusted to the Czechoslovak Association of Physical Education. The reason was the primary focus on betting on the results of sports matches. It did not take even a year, and Sazka came up with a new type of lottery at the time, Sportka, which resembled the one that emerged in neighboring Germany.

Sazka – the Oldest Lottery Company in the Czech Republic

When the name Sazka is mentioned, everyone in the country instantly recollects a large lottery corporation owned by Czech billionaires. The history of betting in the Czech Republic is long and dates back to 1948, in a time of an existence of a joint country with Slovakia, when the state-owned company Staska or the State Betting Office (Státní sázková kancelář) was founded. It allowed people to bet on sports matches but after five years it was shut down on suspicion of corruption. 

In addition, in 1953, there were two lotteries in Czechoslovakia, namely the Czechoslovak Class Lottery (Československá třídní loterie) and the Czechoslovak State Charity Lottery (Československá státní dobročinná loterie). These were also banned.

The human need to bet and indulge in gambling led to the moving of the betting of sports matches to the black market, which the government at that time, of course, did not like. Therefore, on August 3, 1956, the State Committee for Physical Education and Sport decided to issue the license to the Sazka company, which launched the game of the same name on September 15 of the same year. It was a classic betting on the results of sports matches, which aroused great interest among people and, therefore, in March of the following year it decided to introduce the first lottery, which carried and still bears the name Sportka. 

In making Sazka, the creators were inspired by the German lottery from 1955, which came from the North Rhine-Westphalia region. The first draw took place on April 22, 1957, on Easter Monday.

History of Sportka

Competitors could win up to 40,000 korunas in the first few years. In 1963, the winnings reached up to 80,000, and in 1965 it was already 200,000. Between 1963 and 1964, Sportka also included the opportunity to win a prize in kind, which included, for example, a refrigerator, a television, or a car. In 1973, it was decided that the game would be drawn live on Czechoslovak television so that the lottery would be fully transparent.

At the start of the game, one bet cost only 3 korunas and, according to the rules, half of all deposits were placed on winnings. Classically, 6 numbers out of a total of 49 were drawn. Interestingly, each of these numbers bore the name of one sport. That is why the lottery is called Sportka. Golf was number 5, ice hockey 19, and football number 14.

In 1981, the founders of Sazka decided to create the game Bet 5 of 40, which served the sport. Proceeds went to the preparation and accommodation of Czechoslovak Olympians for the 1984 Olympic Games. It was not until 1989 that Sazka decided to create the first scratchcards, which also had a sports theme. This is also connected with the game Tutovka, which was very popular in the early 1990s and was also broadcast on television. At the time, it was one of the most-watched shows.

After the fall of the communist regime, Sazka became a joint-stock company, which was co-owned by several Czech sports organizations, including the Czech Physical Education Association, the Czech Olympic Committee, the Catholic Physical Education Organization, and others.

During the 1990s, Sazka came up with, for example, an online terminal or a Jackpot game, in which the undefeated first prizes began to be transferred to the next round, where they were added to the main prize. Thanks to Sazka, the Czechs got acquainted, with sports betting in 1996 and later with the very popular game Euromillions. 

Now, gambling and betting are done through online bookmakers, which offer numerous payment methods: credit and debit cards, e-wallets such as PayPal, Skrill (check out the best Skrill casinos), or Neteller, and prepaid cards.

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