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Government underestimating gambling, NGOs say

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Prague, Oct 13 (CTK) – The Czech government is not dealing with the real regulation of gambling, trying to get as much money as possible from pathological gamblers, the Citizens Against Gambling and Transparency International told journalists yesterday.
They protested against the amendment to the gambling taxation law passed by the government on Monday.
They said the modification was useless as a total legislation was not yet finished.
The activists said Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) played down the impact of gambling.
“The current state of affairs suits very well senator Ivo Valenta (owner of the Synot gambling group) and other gambling bosses,” Martin Svoboda, chairman of the Citizens Against Gambling, said.
“It does not deal with the real regulation of gambling, the protection of gamblers, which would imply a lower profit for the gambling companies and the state,” Svoboda said.
“It only focuses on how to get as much money from pathological gamblers as possible,” he added.
“The measures to protect pathological gamblers are disappearing from the bill,” activist Matej Hollan said.
On Monday, the government approved a draft amendment to the law on taxation of gambling which sets two tax rates, 23 and 28 percent, as of next year. The rates will depend on the type of gambling.
The ministers agreed on a fee of 80 crowns per slot machine a day, as proposed by Babis. The current fee is 50 crowns.
The Chamber of Deputies has already received a set of new government-sponsored legislative proposals concerning the regulation and taxation of gambling, which should take affect as of 2017. They envisage three tax rates of 25, 30 and 35 percent.
($1=23.834 crowns)

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