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Czech Republic Residents Increase Their Gambling Expenditure in 2017

Jindrich Voboril, the national drug coordinator of the Czech Republic, revealed that a total of 39.8 billion Czech crowns were spent by local citizens on gambling last year. The figure represented approximately a half-a-billion increase in comparison to the customer spending a year earlier.

As Mr. Voboril explained, one-third of the overall amount was spent by local customers on online gambling, with the amount accounting for a massive increase, since spending on iGaming services in 2009 represented only 3% of the overall amount. According to the national drug coordinator, the recent technological development has resulted in an enormous increase in the amount of money spent by Czech Republic’s residents.

The Prague Monitor, however, reported that Mr. Voboril raised a red flag about the possible risks that online gambling posed to children and young individuals. He further explained that prevention is necessary, especially in terms of online gambling. According to Mr. Voboril, whose tenure is to come to an end in July 2018, 1.5% of the country’s gambling tax revenues should be redirected to fund prevention and treatment of problem gambling behavior.

As reported by local media, his idea faced the opposition of the country’s Finance Minister Alena Schillerova. The latter explained that the Ministry is against any effort to guarantee certain chunks of the tax incomes for such purposes due to the fact that such projects’ funding should be considered at the time when the state budget is made. As far as fighting illegal gambling is concerned, Minister Schillerova said that the country is perfectly able to tackle gambling-related harm and explained that the competent authorities managed to reduce the number of gambling rooms from 6,400 to 1,200.

She also revealed that more money was spent by the Czech Republic on addictions prevention in 2017, with 175 million Czech crowns set to be spent in 2018. In comparison, the amount redirected towards addictions’ prevention was estimated at 95 million Czech crowns.

New Gambling Law Rolled Out in 2017

According to data provided by Helena Rampachova, who heads the Council of NGO Association, about 100,000 residents of the Czech Republic may be suffering from gambling-related harm or problem gambling behavior.

The information revealed by Ms. Rampachova showed that gambling is especially popular among middle-aged male citizens, who usually spend an amount in the range from 40,000 to 50,000 Czech crowns on gambling on a monthly basis. At the time when gambling addicts actually realized they were ready to fight their problem gambling behavior, usually have massive debts exceeding a million Czech crowns.

The year 2017 saw a new gambling legislation come into effect in the country. Under the new piece of legislation, foreign gambling operators’ entry in the Czech Republic’s market was allowed. Furthermore, the country also expanded its existing gambling sector by the addition of online gambling operations. Rules on issuing gambling licenses and companies’ monitoring and control were also included in the upgraded gambling legislation, while gambling advertising got restricted.

The local Government rolled out a 35% tax on so-called hi-tech games in January 2018, while the tax set on the remaining games amounts to 23% of their gross gaming revenue.

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