On January 1, the Czech Republic will begin a regulated online gambling market. Because of this, operators are showing an interest in gaining licenses. Testing agencies have been encouraged to seek accreditation and the first to do so in the Czech Republic is Gaming Laboratories International, otherwise known as GLI.
On Saturday, GLI announced they had received accreditation from the Ministry of Finance and Gaming Board of the Czech Republic. GLI says they are the first international gaming laboratory to be able to earn accreditation, based on information provided by Dennis Byram, the European Compliance and Quality Assurance head.
Martin Britton, the Managing Director for GLI Europe and Africa commented on the accreditation by stating that they will now be able to allow their valued clients to move forward in the regulated market of the Czech Republic and be happy for suppliers and operators to contact GLI as they have up-to-the-minute information about the current regulation as well as various certification and audit requirements.
Licensing, as well as regulation, will begin in the Czech Republic by January 1, 2017, after being approved by the government and Cabinet earlier this year. The process for this legislation actually began in 2014 when the finance minister, Andrej Babis introduced a proposal to raise tax revenues via licensing and regulation.
The population of the country is quite large, with over 10 million people so the market could be quite significant. However, the proposed gross gaming revenue (GGR) tax rate of 40% was causing little interest. The final bill saw the GGR reduced to 35% for random number generated casino and poker gaming with 23% set for online sports betting, however, the percentages are still high when considering the standard of Europe.
In addition to the GGR, operators will have to pay a corporate tax rate of 19%. The restrictions have caused criticism from the online poker gaming industry due to player stakes being restricted at 1,000 Czech Koruna, which is equal to $50 in US currency. Winnings are restricted at the equivalent of US$2,000, which will make it hard for operators to earn a profit combined with the GGR and corporate tax rate.
Operators must also have their servers located in the Czech Republic and players have to register at a land based betting venue that has been licensed before being able to go online and take part in online gaming. On a positive note, the proposals include shared liquidity with international gaming pools, based on the restrictions of the country. This will help to bring in more players to take part in gaming options.