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Czech court rules in favour of online gambling ISP blocking

The Czech Constitutional Court has ruled that controversial laws regarding ISP-blocking of unlicensed online gambling websites are constitutional.

The regulations were introduced at the start of this year as part of major changes to laws regarding internet gaming in the Czech Republic.

Operators wishing to offer gambling services in the county must first obtain a licence or face prosecution from the national regulator and police.

Betting firms now also face tighter licensing processes, in addition to a new tax rate of 23% on gross gaming revenue for sports betting and lotteries and 35% for RNG casino games, on top of a standard 19% corporate tax rate.

The ISP-blocking policy was introduced by Czech billionaire Andrej Babis, but has proved somewhat controversial after ISPs stated their own concerns as to what such activities could have on their own business.

Some senators also questioned whether the regulations were in conflict of the constitutional prohibition of censorship.

However, according to the Lexology.com website, the Court said this was not the case, ruling: “the purpose of the contested provisions is not to control or restrict freedom of information or expression, but to prevent illegal activities on the internet”.

The court added that ISP blocking was “likely the only effective, although not perfect, solution”.


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