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Betting in Czech Republic

Published on: 30/11/2015

The Czech communist regime ended in 1989 under the movement known as the Velvet Revolution. Once the Iron Curtain had fallen, the Czech citizens were able to welcome a new democratic parliament. Czech separated from Slovakia in 1993, and officially became an independent state known as The Czech Republic. The current population exceeds 10 million people.

The Czech Republic has become the number one hotspot in all of Europe for physical gambling activities, with reports estimating that there is one slot machine for every 200 nationals.

Sports gambling via the internet is permitted and the country has many of its own .CZ web sites. There are numerous legal gambling venues located all throughout the Czech Republic, which has been the case for many years.

The Czech government operates its own National lottery, which began during the Cold War. It started its first gaming endeavour (Sazka SA) in 1956, and still has the monopoly over most lotteries and number-based gambling activities, with the majority of its profits going towards the public sector. At the beginning of the 1990s, a sportsbook called Tipsport began offering a telephone-based gambling service. Tipsport was one of the first companies to provide punters with local and worldwide football, golf, boxing, tennis and formula one betting along with many other sports. However, all winnings were subject to a 5% tax. Following suit, many sportsbooks started to create their own gambling venues.

As a result, the gambling industry in the Czech Republic achieved massive growth in the 1990s. The country’s capital, Prague currently boasts over twenty gambling establishments. Elsewhere throughout the nation, another 30 large venues and nearly twenty horserace tracks are open for business. The Czech government has introduced regulations to control the amount of gambling venues in the country. The government revised the gambling laws in order to address the growing issues regarding illegal betting activities.

Gambling legislations were put into place only allowing betting markets with fixed odds to be offered by online gambling companies. In addition, only Czech-based betting web sites were legally permitted to provide gambling services to their citizens - companies without a local licence were banned. However, these regulation have not stopped hundreds of online sports betting services from trading with Czech punters. There are well over 20 sports books from abroad whose web sites provide information using the Czech language including some familiar names such as Bwin, Ladbrokes and Unibet. Most of these services also welcome the Czech currency and accept wagers via eWallet.

Unfortunately, Czech punters wagering via foreign sportsbooks are not the only concern for the Republic. In 2011, the law courts announced that the Sazka SA lottery provider had lost huge amounts of money over a number of years.

The Municipal courts are still investigating the issue and are looking into the possibility of unlawful activity. The lottery profit margins are extremely successful and due to this the courts are suspicious of the discrepancies which amount to millions of dollars.

Czech authorities are in the process of amending the gambling laws in an effort to protect the gains brought by online betting. One of the proposals is to put into place new regulations to control internet gambling that mirrors the more liberal approach adopted in France.