Amendments to Czech Republic Gambling Act prioritize player safety and market regulation

Amendments to Czech Republic Gambling Act prioritize player safety and market regulation

The Czech Republic’s Gambling Act will be significantly changed as part of proposed amendments aimed at improving the country’s existing legislative measures. After reviewing the current law, which came into effect in January 2017, the Czech authorities are trying to finalize the law to emphasize prioritizing player safety, the reduction of illegal activity, and the expansion of legal gambling choices.

Proposed amendments

One of the proposed changes of the Impact Assessment of the Regulation of the Act on Gambling and Related Legislation (RIA) is the addition of a new “panic button” feature to protect land-based and online players. Once enabled, this feature will restrict users from engaging in any gaming with any operator for a 48-hour period. In addition, players will be allowed to self-exclude themselves for a certain period of time and will not be removed from the self-exclusion database during that time. The scope of registration will also be expanded to include those under criminal investigation.

The alarm button is the result of the creation of an exclusion register in September 2020, as part of the country’s ongoing efforts to prioritize player safety.

The proposed amendments also pave the way for the legalization of live dealer games, expanding the range of online gambling products beyond random number generators and digital table games.

Tougher penalties on illegal online gambling

In addition, the new law is intended to impose tougher penalties on illegal online gambling. All operators with domestic games, whether or not they explicitly target local players, will be considered active in the market. The extension of this rule will also include “illegal gambling applications and platforms”, which implies that affiliates can only operate with operators registered locally.

Changes to the licensing process fees for land-based or online permit applications are included in the bill. The amount payable will be divided into four tiers, taking into account the customer’s level of commitment and the risk profile of the licensee’s games. In addition, the proposed revisions aim to provide clearer definitions for key gaming elements, such as different types of gaming activities. In a drive to ensure fair and responsible gaming, new rules will be implemented to improve the regulation of prize pay-outs and player account termination.

The original gambling law required a stricter licensing process for operators and levied a 23% tax rate on the gross gaming revenue (GGR) generated by sports betting and lottery operators.  It also included a 35% tax on RNG casino games. Lottery, casino and bingo operators have been subject to a 30% GGR tax from January 2020, with fixed odds betting fees increased to 25%.

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