Twice the winner – Czech wins EUR 55 million jackpot before tax change


An unknown individual has made headlines in the Czech Republic, after the country’s prime betting company, SAZKA, announced that the winner of a Europe-wide lottery’s billion-crown jackpot was Czech. His luck may be seen by some as two-fold, because the win came before the expected arrival of new legislation taxing lottery winners.

It is the fairy tale many European wishes for and last week it happened in the Czech Republic.

An anonymous man won the Eurojackpot lottery, instantly earning some EUR 55.2 million, which translates to CZK 1.4 billion, an astronomical sum that even most successful business owners will never reach in their lifetimes.

Václav Friedmann, the head of the Czech Republic’s betting agency SAZKA, which pays out the winnings in the country, says his company is aware who the lucky man is and that he claimed his winnings on Friday.

As is the norm when winning very high jackpots, the individual also has the right to a financial adviser and a psychologist.

Václav Friedmann,  photo: Archive of Václav Friedmann
The bet was placed from an online account, which means that there is little risk of the winner realising their luck too late, Mr. Friedman told Czech Radio.

“When the lottery bet is placed online we already know their details – that means their full name and birth certificate number. We have already agreed with the winner that we will look into all the details together on Monday. He said he wants to have some time to think about everything and realise properly that he is now a billionaire.”

The current deadline for claiming one’s winnings extends to one year from the victory, but it used to be just 32 days.

Four years ago, in 2015, another Czech Eurojackpot winner, from the Pardubice Region, nearly missed out by waiting until only four days ahead of deadline day before he made his claim.

Photo: Lotto Baden-Württemberg,  Flickr,  CC BY-ND 2.0
He ended up entering a Prague SAZKA office with a rucksack, immediately taking CZK 250,000 in cash, as well as providing a list of bank accounts into which to send the CZK 2.5 billion crowns he had won.

Last week’s winner is perhaps even luckier, because he won two weeks after the government approved a new bill which would set a 15 percent tax on lottery winnings.

If it passes through parliament, the legislation is likely to become active from January 2019. Had it been in place now the winner would have had to pay some CZK 211 million to the state.

The Eurojackpot is a transnational European lottery, which was first launched in March 2012. It is active in 18 European states including Germany, Norway, Spain, Italy and Poland. The Czech Republic joined in 2014 and has since had two winners.