Online poker legalization is a very popular topic nowadays and we have written about the situation in countries like Australia, Pennsylvania, and Brazil, among others, but now a new topic came to our mind: what is the status of online poker in the Czech Republic?
Online poker in the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a small European country with over 10 million inhabitants. It is a top touristic destination in the world: Prague, the Czech Republic capital, is one of the most visited cities in the world and its astronomical clock is absolutely outstanding.
In 2017, the gambling market was valued in $1,7 billion, from which 360MUSD came from online games. The poker fans know the country as the location of the Kings Casino, home of the largest poker series in Europe.
A new era in the development of online gambling legislation began in the country in 2014, when the Finance Minister Andrei Babish decided to increase the taxes on gambling. It was supported by the state necessity to deal with gambling-related problems.
Initially, the Minister wanted a tax rate of 40% but eventually agreed on 19% corporate tax, 23% on online sports and 35% from casino games. Also, the new regulation limited the maximum bet ($42) and maximum winning ($2,000).
The legislative initiative was sent to the President signature in mid-2016 and the law began to rule from January 2017. As a result, the leading poker rooms decided to leave the country: 888Poker, Betsson, PokerStars, partypoker, William Hill, and all the sites that continued to offer their services to Czechs began to be blocked.
PokerStars was the first room moving forward, obtaining a license on January 28, 2017.
And it was only almost two years later that another top company — partypoker, got a license to operate in the Czech Republic. Now, partypoker will compete for the leadership head to head with PokerStars. Since the player's pool is shared, we expect soon that the partypoker tables beginning to be filled with Czech's regs and fish, although the appearance of the first ones is most likely because the regulation requires the players to register in the local post office to engage online games, such procedures can scare recreational players.
On the one hand, expanding the player's pool is always good for any poker room, so obtaining a license to operate in the Czech Republic is good news for partypoker. On the other hand, the procedures to register in the poker rooms required by the local authorities may scare recreational players, and there are enough regular players in the partypoker network already.
Nevertheless, for poker players living in the Czech Republic, these are great news because now they can choose between two legal poker platforms to play.
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