Czech Republic’s Gambling Act Undergoes Proposed Amendments to Enhance Player Safety and Market Regulation

The Czech Republic’s Gambling Act will be significantly altered as part of a draft amendment aiming at improving the country’s existing legislative measures. Following a review of the current act, which took effect on January 1, 2017, Czech authorities are attempting to fine-tune the laws in order to emphasize player safety, reduce illegal activity, and expand legal gambling choices.

One of the suggested changes is the addition of a new “panic button” feature to protect players in both land-based and online gambling settings. Once enabled, this feature prevents users from engaging in any gambling activity with any operator for a mandated 48-hour period. Furthermore, players will be allowed to self-exclude for a set length of time and will not be removed from the self-exclusion database during this time. The register’s scope will also be expanded to include those under criminal investigation.

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The panic button follows the creation of an exclusion register in September 2020, as part of the country’s continued efforts to prioritize player safety.
The proposed revisions also pave the path for live dealer games to be legalized, broadening the spectrum of online gambling products beyond random number generators and digital table games.

Furthermore, the new law intends to impose stricter penalties for illicit internet gaming. All operators whose games are available in the country, regardless of whether they expressly target local players, will be considered active in the market. This expansion of the rule would also include “applications and platforms that offer or mediate illegal gambling games,” implying that affiliates would only be able to operate with locally registered operators.

Changes to the deposit licensing process for applicants seeking land-based or online licenses are included in the draft bill. The amount to be paid will be set by four bands, taking into account the level of client engagement and the risk profile of the licensee’s games.

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Furthermore, the proposed revisions seek to give more explicit definitions for key gambling elements, such as various sorts of gaming activities. New rules will be implemented to improve the regulation of prize payouts and player account termination, ensuring fair and responsible gaming operations.

The original Gambling Act required a more stringent licensing process for operators and levied a 23% tax rate on gross gaming revenue (GGR) generated by sports betting operators and lotteries, and a 35% tax rate on RNG casino games. Lotteries, casinos, and bingo operators have been subject to a 30% GGR tax from January 2020, with the fixed-odds betting fee increased to 25%. The Czech Ministry of Health and the National Drug Policy Coordinator took the initiative to address concerns about the rising availability of addictive substances and services.

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