Czech Ministry of Finance Plans to Hike Taxes on Gambling

  • The Czech Ministry of Finance plans to rake up tax on certain gambling verticals
  • Lotteries, bingo, and live games will now be levied at 30% of GGR
  • Some fear that hiking taxes might bring back black markets

Amid booming gambling and poker industries in the Czech Republic, the country’s Ministry of Finance is now planning a tax hike.

Gambling Taxes to Go Up in the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic’s Ministry of Finances will introduce a comprehensive package of taxation that will affect several iGaming and gambling verticals, including lotteries, bingo, live games, and a few others less affected segments.

The country will introduce changes to specific gambling verticals, such as lotteries, moving taxation from 23% of their gross gaming revenue (GGR) to 30% of GGR. In comparison, the highest levied vertical remains gaming machines, which fetch a hefty 35% tax come what may. This comes at a time when the Czech Republic has started accepting foreign operators.

The affected segments will include bingo, lotteries, and live games. This will cut into the profitability of business, but the Ministry has argued that adding more to the public coffers takes precedence over private party enrichment.

The changes affect other industries that are historically linked, including tobacco and alcohol production. The ministry’s official statement read:

The proposed amendment to the gambling tax law divides the rate of gambling tax into three levels, according to the harmfulness of individual gambling in the same way as the government’s draft Gambling Tax Act of 2015.

The news was met with criticism from former Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek. According to Mr. Kalousek, the government was lumping terms together, not differentiating between gambling and addiction.

Another point Mr. Kalousek brought up was the fact that not all verticals should be taxed the same, particularly the less profitable ones. Taxing lotteries by 30%, Mr. Kalousek pointed out, would be unnecessary.

A Return to Black Market Times

With so many businesses potentially squeezed, some fear that the Czech Republic may start losing verticals that will then be offered by unregulated third-parties, hence boosting the black market. There have been some reports already that gambling isn’t as common.

Such concerns are not without merit, but at the same time they seem to be a little too stretched. Lawmakers and politicians have been quietly voicing a concern, but nothing too serious. Overall, the Czech Republic has been a very welcoming place for various gambling activities, including poker.

The market for the world’s most popular card game has been expanding significantly. In November 2018, Partypoker also joined the country’s only active poker operator, PokerStars.

The newly-arrived card room brand teamed up with the King’s Casino, a long-time partner of the brand and somewhat controversial because of his owner’s alleged refusal to honor wagers on account of “being too drunk”.

It wasn’t until 2017 that the Czech Republic introduced a regulated market with a number of respectable brands applying for a license, including Partypoker and William Hill. PokerStars was also among the first companies to hurry up and jump at the opportunity to expand into a new market.

Things have been moving along nicely since, but a new tax now threatens to upset some of the progress that has been made over the past few months.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Robinson Introduces Bill to Shut Online Lottery Ticket Sale in Florida

  • Rep. Will Robinson introduces bill to cancel all online lottery tickets
  • Mr. Robinson cites security concerns
  • Florida is likely to accept the bill

Florida has a no-go policy on casinos and gambling in general. Advertised as a family holiday destination, this is not surprising. Now, State Rep. Will Robinson wants to make sure that lottery tickets can only be sold at retail shops as opposed to online websites.

The Wire Act, Florida and the Lotteries

Florida is indeed a little gung-ho when it comes to its gaming laws, and the current legislative development originating in the Department of Justice (DOJ) isn’t going to make the climate any milder.

While New Jersey and Pennsylvania are contesting the DOJ and the ham-fisted approach to the online gambling industry in the United States, Florida seems a little more accommodating.

DOJ Could Consider Flip-Flopping on Its 2011 Decision

State Rep. Will Robinson wants to make sure that no ticket is ever sold online and his newly introduced House Bill 629 might just hit the mark. Mr. Robinson is a man with a plan, and he intends to uproot the “illegal sort of fraudulent online vendors that sell tickets” – more or less:

These fraudulent websites are, in my view, illegally advertising when they are not related to the lottery system at all.

Mr. Robinson is not wasting any time either. His bill will appear before the Gaming Control Subcommittee on Wednesday.

Why Is Florida Against Online Lottery Ticket Sales?

The argument is not without merit. In 2018, Aura Dominguez Canto from Panama bought a ticket from TheLotter.com, an Israeli-based online ticket website.

TheLotter.com had bought the ticket from a local retailer, and then re-sold it to Ms. Canto who eventually won the $30 million pot.

Despite an initial opposition to pay out the winnings, Ms. Canto’s jackpot was honored. Though this alone cannot be the basis for calling websites illegal, it certainly goes to indicate that online vendors can lead to some confusion.

In light of this, Mr. Robinson has set out to ensure that online tickets would no longer be valid, should his Bill manage to clear the upcoming legal hurdles.

New Hampshire Is Not Quite Happy

Florida has its reasons to not like online gambling, not least of all because the state is cosy with the tribal operators which have contributed billions to the economy.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire is preparing to take things to court, challenging the DOJ’s newly-revised Opinion on the Wire Act.

Back in Florida, Mr. Robinson remains adamant against the sale of lottery tickets online. Since the state doesn’t offer the activity officially, all websites that extend lottery tickets are in fact illegal. As the senator himself noted, Florida is nowhere near switching to online sales.

He also further noted the risk that carrying out transactions over the Internet posed with many such vendors using the lottery’s logo to lure in financial details from customers.

Sophia Rojas

Growing up around law firms, Sophia keeps our team of reporters atop any legislative developments to follow up with a welcomed dose of positive news as our house trivia nut!

Camelot’s Set For Life to Pay Out £10K Monthly for 30 Years

  • Camelot UK is introducing the Set For Life annuity game
  • Winners will be provided with £10,000 guaranteed monthly income for 30 years
  • The odds of winning are 15,339,390 to one

Camelot UK Lotteries are developing a new draw-based annuity game, which will allow participants a chance to win as much as $13,000 (£10,000).

Camelot UK Introduces New Annuity Game

UK customers of Camelot, one of the leading UK lottery providers and operators, will have an opportunity to participate in a new game, promising to fetch them as much as $13,000 (£10,000). The annuity draw-based event will pay winners the reward monthly, for a period of 30 years, and it seems that it will be one of the latest staple products to hit the lottery vertical.

“Set For Life” is launching on March 18 and the tickets for each event would cost estimated $1.9 (£1.5). Tickets can be purchased through the National Lottery’s website, bought with the help of a mobile app, or snapped up at an official retail outlet as early as March 15.

GiG Teams Up with MegaLotto to Introduce

Players will then choose five numbers from a total of 47 available digits as well as a “Life Ball” which will also carry a number (0-10). Participants who manage to match the five main numbers as well as the Life Ball will be considered winners.

Camelot has also revealed the most likely odds of winning the monthly prize, putting them at 15,339,390:1. The draws will occur twice a week, on Monday and Thursday. To spread awareness, Camelot will also feature “Set For Life” in a new marketing campaign, which will be rolling out ahead of the official launch of the game.

Is There a Shift Towards Annuity Games in the UK?

The popularity of annuity games has been spreading across the United Kingdom, and Camelot’s decision is a direct response to that demand. Nigel Railton, top executive at Camelot, explained the birth of the new game thus:

Annuity games really appeal to a growing number of people who like the idea of winning a prize paid out in regular instalments over the long term, and are very successful in other countries.

Mr. Railton is convinced that “Set For Life” would enjoy the same popularity that the National Lottery does, with the small wrinkle that it might take some time to gain traction. Still, he believes that the game will appeal particularly to the younger demographics as it introduces an alternate way of making a bet.

“It appeals to a different kind of player. There are a good number of people who like the stability of regular monthly payments. – National Lottery spokesperson

The addition of “Set For Life,” achieves another important goal, by diversifying the experience to suit a variety of tastes, play styles and more. Mr. Railton estimates that if the National Lottery is going to continue operating at a profit, it needs to adapt to consumer tastes and while lottery-based games should be in the core, the could be overhauled to better match the expectations of the new generations.

Aran Malik

“Magic Malik”—as we like to call him—is not only a tech whiz but a wizard when it comes to getting obscure news hot off the press so we know exactly what’s happening and can explore and report it back to our growing and loyal readerbase.