A Czech Ministry proposal backed by Deputy Finance Minister Ondrej Zavodsky will reportedly revamp existing gambling law to allow the inclusion of foreign online gambling operators who are currently prohibited by the requirement of having to have a retail presence in the country.
According to Reuters, the proposal, which would go into effect in 2016 following Government consultations, also includes tightened regulations on betting machines in restaurants and petrol stations and will prevent welfare recipients from wagering.
Opening up the market to registered foreign online gambling groups would provide much needed tax revenues for the Czech Ministry’s coffers while providing Czech’s with regulated and approved online gambling destinations which the Ministry believes will staunch the flow of potential tax revenues out of the country as citizens choose to play on foreign sites. The Ministry intends setting new tax rates with the hope of having them finalised by the end of 2014.
“Users currently bet abroad, which several foreign companies make easier by introducing sites in Czech. According to our estimates, the state misses out on more than 1 billion crowns a year in this segment,” Zavodsky said.
The Czech Government commission estimates, Czechs gambled 135.5 billion crowns ($6.3 billion) in 2012. Only five domestic bookmakers provide retail and online operations in the country, including Fortuna Entertainment Group.