Statistics show that about 75% of casinos in the Czech Republic have been closed and 50% of slot machines have been eliminated.
This result came after lawmakers in the country voted in favor of a decree that would render the prohibition of all technical gambling games in Prague effective. Of course, this is a win for the country but a blow to players who indulge for fun and money.
According to councilor Hana Kordova, the decree aims at regulating gambling operations in the city. She added that the regulation is all about finding a balance between legislation and modern gaming technologies. The new law gives a citizen the freedom to decide and do business while also reducing the issues that arise with gambling – like tax evasion. But what do the disappearing slot machines mean to gamers?
Czechia may no longer be the “casino of Europe”
Right before January 2012, the Czech Republic had the most slot machines per capita than any other European Union country. So much so that it was referred to as the “casino of Europe.” However, since the new legislation was passed, that seized to be the case. With the number of slot machines in the country falling by half and actual casinos down from 7,600 to 1,800 since 2012, the Czech Republic is no longer the casino of Europe.
Online gambling is a winner
All hope is not lost for players in the country. Not when there’s a more convenient, accessible, and real way to engage in their favorite activity. The internet has made it easy for players in the Czech Republic to access their favorite slot games. It’s even better since providers have gone above and beyond to ensure the games are as real as those in land-based casinos. According to one post, the extensive crackdown of casinos in Prague saw a rise in the number of people shifting to online casino. And despite the new legislation, the country’s tax and revenue from gambling activity went up by a whopping 56% in 2017.
Players need to register to play in a land-based casino
The Czech Republic has approximately 110,000 problem gamblers, a number that was twice as much per capita as any other European Union country. So the new measure seeks to register all these players and even prevent them from playing anywhere if they have a hard time self-excluding. Additionally, the law requires all casinos to register any person who wishes to play. Meaning, a player is not able to play unless they register. He or she also has to take breaks during plays to refresh and maybe think things through. This measure is in a bid to control the common gambling problem.
One of the main challenges that players face in casinos is falling into the hands of preying casinos. Unfortunately, many casinos were operating in the country without licensing and all. Some of these casinos would prey on their players and even refuse to pay wins. Others also ran illegal activities alongside gaming which made it dangerous for unsuspecting players. The crackdown saw the closure of such facilities allowing players to work with recognized entities that adhere to the regulations and laws.
Some districts will have no casinos
As of January 2016, Prague revoked licenses of about 212 gaming sites, leaving only 101. But the city also stopped giving gaming licenses to new casinos as they gradually phase out the existing ones. In fact, some districts, including 7, 5, and 4, enforced a strict zero-tolerance policy toward casino gaming, leaving no casinos in those districts.
Players may still need to register to play at online casinos
Local online players are expected to sign up to play at one of the 7,500 spots around the country. Verifications are carried out at particular points like notary offices and banks – and may take a couple of days to complete.
All in all, the Czech Republic remains an international poker hotspot for land-based players. Locals can still play at officially licensed casinos around the country. And those who’d like to participate in their favorite gaming without having to leave their homes can always do it online. Many international providers allow players from the Czech Republic to participate in their games and even win.
By: Kane Marsh