Online gambling operators are showing growing interest in licensing in the newly regulated Czech Republic market scheduled to open January 1 2017, encouraging testing agencies to seek accreditation, and the first to be successful in this endeavour is Gaming Laboratories International (GLI).
The company announced Saturday that it has been awarded accreditation from the Ministry of Finance and Gaming Board in the Czech Republic. The company claims it is the first international gaming laboratory to achieve accreditation in the country under the leadership of its European Compliance and Quality Assurance head, Dennis Byram.
GLI Managing Director of GLI Europe and Africa, Martin Britton said, “This will allow our valued clients to move forward in this regulated market, and we would be happy for suppliers and operators to contact GLI as we have up-to-the-minute information about the current regulation and various certification and audit requirements.”
The licensing and regulation of online gambling in the Republic is due to commence on January 1 2017 after being approved earlier this year by the government and Cabinet.
The legalisation process started back in 2014 when the country’s finance minister, Andrej Babiš, introduced proposals to raise tax through licensing and regulation (see previous reports).
With a population of 10.5 million and a history of wagering around $6 billion annually, the market has potential, but interest was muted by a proposed 40 percent of GGR tax rate.
That was reduced in the final bill to a still-prohibitive 35 percent on GGR for RNG casino and poker gambling and a more reasonable 23 percent on internet sports betting…both still high by European standards.
In both cases a further corporate tax rate of 19 percent is payable, making it very difficult for operators to prosper.
Additional restrictions have generated criticism from the online poker industry, which says that restricting player stakes to just 1,000 Czech Koruna (about US$50) and winnings to the equivalent of US$2,000, in addition to the harsh tax regime, does not make the market operator-friendly.
Other restrictions include a requirement that operators have their servers on Czech soil, and that players must first register at a land-based licensed betting venue before being allowed to play online.
One good thing about the Czech proposals is that shared liquidity with international gaming pools will be allowed, subject to the Czech regulations above.
Those operators who decide to access the Czech market without licensing, thus evading the tax situation will find that the new regulations carry tough enforcement measures that include financial sanctions, blacklisting and ISP blocking.