he Czech Republic's Ministry of Finance published 2019 plans to increase taxes across all “vice sectors”. On 4 April, it submitted its proposals to the Senate, seeking to implement new tax plans “increasing public budget revenues”.
The mandate affects Czech gambling stakeholders hardest, as the Ministry moves to impose a general 30% gross-gaming-revenue (GGR) tax across all gambling/betting verticals (lottery, sports betting, bingo, casino games).
The Ministry’s hardened tax stance will likely shatter hopes of the Czech government reforming its national gambling framework in 2019, moving to make its marketplace friendlier and more accessible for foreign operators and investors.
Since 2016, the Milos Zeman SPO social democrat government has sanctioned one of Europe’s toughest regulatory and operating codes for operating gambling services. Introducing a 23% GGR betting tax and 35% GGR slots tax in 2017, the SPO government saw a number of international firms such as Fortuna Entertainment, William Hill and GVC Holdings exit the marketplace, with betting leadership branding Czech Rep as “simply unworkable”.
Furthermore, the SPO government continues to require that all Czech online gambling consumers register their personal details through its administration and authorization program. At present, The Stars Group’s BetStars and GVC Holdings’ PartyPoker brands remain as the market’s only foreign-licensed operators.