The Czech Republic has the highest number of bars with gambling licenses per capita worldwide. But with just under 60,000 gambling machines in operation within its borders, the Czech government is looking to tighten control over the gaming industry.
Recently, Czech Deputy Finance Minister Ondrej Zavodsky revealed in an interview with Bloomberg that his office is in the process of drafting a new gambling bill that would allow online gaming for all operators in the Czech Republic. Sounds like a good plan, right?
But there’s a catch. The proposed bill would allow online gambling, but would increase taxes for casino operators who ultimately decide to offer online gambling services.
As it stands now, the Czech government collects roughly $400 million in taxes from the gaming industry a year. But Deputy Finance Minister Ondrej Zavodsky also pointed out that costs related to the gaming industry are at least four times higher than the tax revenue, hence the proposal to increase tax rates for the gambling operators
“We need to create an environment that will allow us to tackle hardcore gaming like slots or table games,” Zavodsky told Bloomberg.
Separate tax rates will apply for different types of gaming to augment the government’s current take of around 8 billion koruna (approx. $400 million) in gaming industry tax revenues per annum.
Should the bill pass, a 2016 timeline for its implementation is expected, giving casino operators enough time to weigh the pros and cons of offering online gambling in the country. Casinos and slot operators would receive the short end of the stick as they stand to face higher tax rates, while lottery companies would get the benefit of being taxed less, or at least lower than the 20 percent operators currently pay.