Czechs are considered to be some of the easiest going and most relaxed people in Europe. It’s quite difficult to make a Czech angry, and usually it would be over something quite trivial. In 1918, someone decided to join Czechs with Slovakians, creating the unitary state of Czechoslovakia.
Czech locals just shrugged, and continued to go about their everyday lives. In 1993, Slovakia decided to become independent, and a different generation of Czechs just shrugged and went about their everyday business.
Yet those rare times when Czechs do get angry, the pent up rage held back over generations explodes with the force of a drunken Viking berserker. Historically Czechs always had strong libertarian views on personal freedoms, and over the past few weeks, the large segment of Czech population who enjoy gambling are boiling mad.
The events of ‘Black Friday’, the USA government’s anti-populist de-facto move to prevent millions of law abiding citizens from playing online poker, made the online gambling industry take a second look at Czech gambling laws.
It quickly became apparent that Czech online gambling laws only permit fixed-odds games (betting on odds offered by sports bookies), while forbidding all casino style online games. Since online gambling is an accepted norm, all residents play in one of 150+ foreign based online casinos in Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic has a regulated and licensed online gambling market which is comprised of five companies – Fortuna, Sazka, Sinot Top, Chance and Tipsport. All five are losing millions in revenues and Czech Sazka lottery’s 606 million dollar debt shocked the online gambling industry. Analysts forecast that at the current rate, all five will be bankrupt within five years.
Operators of online gambling ventures would like to see a regulated and licensed Czech online gambling market that does not exclude Czech companies from participating. There have been multiple meetings between industry lobbyists and Czech members of parliament regarding the passage of such framework, and there is a strong chance that the gambling laws will be amended by the middle of 2012.
Ivo Valenta, the co-founder of Czech Synot Lotto, was visibly angry (he kept tapping his right foot a little), when he said – “We believe that this market will be opened up in the Czech Republic and that our politicians will at last understand, as they do in other countries, that the state will also benefit in terms of tax receipts and fees.”