Prague Implements City-Wide Ban on Slot Machines

In a move to curb gambling activities, Prague city council gave the green light to a comprehensive ban on all technical gambling games within the capital in September 2020. This ban encompasses slot machines and applies to all venues, regardless of their licensing status.

Scheduled for full enforcement in 2024, the ban allowed existing venues to continue offering technical games until the expiration of their licenses, with some extending into this year. However, reports from Prague reveal a gradual removal of slot machines from venues since the beginning of the year, with a few still operational until late January.

iGB’s inquiry with the gambling regulation department confirmed that the ban officially took effect on January 1st, rendering slot machine play illegal in Prague. Department director Martin Šabo highlighted that enforcement efforts began as early as 2021, although venues with longer licenses were granted a grace period.

While land-based slot machines are prohibited within Prague, licensed venues outside the capital can still legally offer them.

Online Slots Remain Accessible

Contrary to the ban on land-based slots, online gambling remains unaffected in Prague. However, a recent decree not only initiated the ban on physical machines but also updated regulations surrounding online gambling activities.

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Previously, online platforms operating without a license were only deemed illegal if they specifically targeted Czech players. The updated decree broadens this scope, classifying any unlicensed website accessible within the country as illegal. This amendment came into force on December 31, 2023.

Despite the recent regulatory adjustments, Šabo hinted at potential future changes within the Czech Republic’s gambling landscape. Referring to a review by the office for the protection of economic competition (ÚOHS), concerns were raised about the decree’s alignment with competition laws.

Šabo emphasized the likelihood of further alterations to gambling operations in Prague due to potential fines imposed as a result of these discrepancies. The evolving regulatory environment underscores the ongoing efforts to balance consumer protection with industry compliance within the Czech gambling sector.

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