Czech Republic is moving closer
towards raising the tax on gambling in the country.
On Wednesday, the lower house
gave its final endorsement to the bill that will increase the taxes on gambling
companies starting next year, Reuters reported.
Under the bill, tax on slot
machines will increase from 28 percent to 35 percent, while all sports betting
or lotteries will be taxed at 23 percent. This tax is separate from the regular
corporate tax rate of 19 percent that gambling operators in the country are
required to pay, according to the report.
The tax bill will now go through
the upper chamber of the Parliament before landing on the president’s lap for
The bill, which was introduced
last year, was originally meant to take effect back in January, but it was push
backed due to delays. The measure is expected to contribute an estimated 2
billion crowns to the country’s coffers.
Czechs reportedly spent 138
billion crowns ($5.63 billion) in 2014 on gambling—more than half of it on
mechanical and video slot machines—which accounted for roughly 2.5 percent of
the country’s GDP.
Last year, the government sought
to impose a point of consumption tax on international online gambling operators
that cater to Czech punters. The Ministry of Finance wanted internationally
licensed gambling operators to put up at least 20 percent of their revenue.
The Czech market is also
expected to open its doors to foreign online betting companies soon, according
to the report. Lawmakers has given the Finance Ministry the authority to hunt
and shut down any betting website that are deemed illegal.
Currently, only a handful of
domestic firms, including Fortuna Entertainment Group, populate the Czech
gambling market. But the country is already in the process of overhauling the
gambling sector. As part of the overhaul, the government wants a new gambling
regime—one that will cover online gambling, slot machines and lotteries—by