New bill to introduce strict gambling regulation
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has unveiled details of a bill introducing strict regulation of gambling in the Czech Republic. The new rules would push slot machines away from regular pubs and bars and introduce betting limits. The ministry also plans to create a database of gamblers to prevent addicts or those in debt from gambling. The draft legislation should enter into force in January 2016.
Over the past several years, dozens of municipalities across the country have introduced their own directives banning or restricting gambling on their territories. But on Thursday, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš unveiled the details of a first comprehensive bill aimed at curbing gambling and minimizing its negative effects.
“The draft legislation addresses all negative impacts of gambling on the society which have been estimated at 15 billion crowns every year.
Under the new rules, slot machines would only be allowed in specialized bars and casinos, and would be banned in regular pubs and bars. The ministry would like to establish a central monitoring system which would control all gambling operations in real time.
A database of gamblers should meanwhile prevent some high-risk groups from gambling, according to deputy finance minister Ondřej Závodský.
“We would also like to introduce principles of responsible gambling, establishing maximum hourly and monthly bet limits.
“On top of that, we want to prevent certain groups of people from gambling. These include gambling addicts undergoing treatment or those who owe money either to their families or to the state.”
The legislation also harmonizes Czech law with EU rules, allowing companies based outside the Czech Republic to offer online gambling to Czech clients.
The bill will now make rounds at other government ministries before it is discussed by the government and eventually reaches the lower house. If approved, it should come into effect in January 2016.