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Czech Republic gambling on the incease

Outgoing Czech national drugs coordinator Jindrich Voboril appealed for more government funding for problem gambling in a statement this week, revealing that Czech punters spent 39.8 billion crowns on gambling in 2017, half a billion more than the previous year.

One third of that sum was spent on online gambling, up from just 3 percent in 2009, he claimed, suggesting that this has resulted in a greater risk of problem gambling among younger players.

Voboril, who leaves his post in July, said 1.5 percent of state tax revenues on gambling should go to prevention and treatment organisations, a suggestion that was rebuffed by Finance Minister Alena Schillerova, who said that her ministry rejects any effort to earmark parts of excise tax incomes to such purposes because the decision to give the money to such projects should be made during the debate on the state budget.

The majority of Czech punters are middle-aged men and they usually spend 40,000 to 50,000 crowns a month on gambling, Council of NGO Association head Helena Rampachova told local eporters.

Czech lawmakers passed laws in 2017 enabling foreign online gambling operators to access the local market, subject to compliance with tough licensing, tax and regulatory regimes.

Minister Schillerova said the state received over 12 billion crowns in gambling taxes last year, and currently spends more money on drug prevention and addiction now at around 175 million crowns, up from 95 million in 2015.

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