Czech laws ready for European review

Czech laws ready for European review

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 Totally Gaming
Companies based outside the country will be allowed to offer online gaming to Czechs

The Czech Republic has submitted its new draft gambling legislation to the European Commission (EC) for approval.

Finance Minister Andrej Babiš announced recently that the legislation would allow companies based outside the Czech Republic to offer online gambling to citizens, as well as create a database of gamblers to prevent addicts or those in debt from gambling.

The Czech Republic, along with Belgium, Cyprus, Lithuania, Poland and Romania, was told to bring its gambling licensing procedures into compliance with European law in November 2013, with Babiš hopeful that the legislation will become law by January 2017.

In its complaint in 2013, the EC wrote: “The Commission has concerns about the compatibility of national provisions subjecting the provision of online gambling services to establishing a physical presence in the recipient Member State, prescribing a specific legal form on the basis of national law, requesting prior consent of the authorities in relation to any changes in the shareholder structure or banning foreign capital with European Union law.”

The submission to the EC comes just a few weeks after government research showed that around 100,000 people in the Czech Republic are addicted to gambling, online games and betting.

National drug coordinator Jindrich Voboril and Viktor Mravcik, national drug and addiction monitoring centre head, also said that around one third of adult Czechs participated in gambling in 2014, spending around Kr138.1bn (€5.1bn/$5.7bn) and losing Kr31.4bn.

The government last year announced a four-year action plan, with gambling addiction to be treated alongside drug problems. 

Voboril said: “Approximately 20 per cent of those gambling are problem gamblers. If at least half of them were involved in the intervention help programme, the losses could be cut by one to two billion crowns.”

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