The Czech Republic is one of the countries in Eastern and Central Europe that has a large concentration of casinos. Today, there are more than 100 casinos in the country. Among the Czechs, gambling is a popular form of entertainment. Online sportsbooks are some of the favorite games. However, gambling industry finds itself in a tricky situation because only a small portion of the market is regulated. The majority of the licensed operators consider the current legislation as insufficient and too restrictive.
The Ministry of Finance is the institution mandated to issue licenses to the operators. Currently, the ministry is offering fixed-odds gambling licenses, but some exceptions apply as per the 2012 Lottery Act. So far, it has issued licenses to five operators: Fortuna, Sazka, Synot, Chance, and Tipsport. All licensed operators are supposed to pay solid fees and various taxes. Currently, they are supposed to pay 20% tax for gross wins on top of 19% corporate tax.
While the regulatory bodies have been keen on controlling the licensed operators, little is done to stop the unlicensed operators from providing their services to the Czech players. The main reason given by the authorities is that they see nothing criminal in activities carried out by these unlicensed operators. This has attracted criticism from the licensed operators citing uneven playing ground since their unlicensed counterparts can offer a full range of gambling products to the Czech consumers; Czech gamblers can register with foreign-based online casinos.
Online casinos in Czech is still in the process of development. Recently, the government has started allowing entrance of online casinos from foreign and local operators. The strongest candidates to promote online casinos are the licensed operators. This development came in the wake of pressure from European Commission to the authorities to align their gambling laws to European competition laws. In response to this, the Czech authorities have made some concessions. The government is, however, planning to impose a tax rate of 35% on unregulated offshore operators.