Official authorities in Prague approved a blanket ban on all electronic and mechanical slot and other gambling machines across the city. The decree that will enter into force January 1, 2021, is going to honour all existing licenses with the last ones expiring in 2024.
Blanket Ban on Electronic Gambling and Video Lottery Terminals
Lawmakers in Prague proposed a bill which will oust all types of electronic and mechanical gambling from the city and the City Council voted in favour of the proposal, despite arguments from opposition parties the ban will deprive the city of vital funding for other public services. The decree approved by the city officials did not touch on any traditional live gaming which would still be available in land-based gaming facilities within the 16 city districts in Prague that allow such type of gambling.
“In Prague, we decided to follow the path of a blanket ban on slot machines throughout the city, because we set ourselves the goal of reducing the most dangerous forms of gambling, which include playing slot machines. Statistics show that limiting the availability of gambling has a significant positive impact in the area of negative social phenomena, such as pathological gambling or non-payment.” Hana Kordová Marvanová, Prague Councillor
The city councillor further explained that Prague districts should not worry for funding due to loss of revenue from gambling machines. The funds that are usually directed for culture, education, sport and social affairs would be compensated as, parallel to the blanket ban on electronic machine gambling, the City Council approved a compensation for the financial needs of these important public activities so that they do not suffer.
Gambling in the Czech Republic
In 2007, city officials passed a decree which limited the places where gambling inside Prague was permitted, as well as setting time limitations. According to the decree, only 16 out of the 57 districts in Prague are allowed to offer gambling.
Since its introduction, the number of licensed gambling locations fell drastically from 1,422 to just 101 casino establishments, and the total number of gaming machines plummeted from nearly 16,000, January 1, 2010, to just below 4,000, August 31, 2020.
The decree approved by the City Council is the latest attempt to clamp down on problem gambling in the Czech capital. Outside of Prague, a lot of the main cities already implemented an outright ban on technical gambling.
Gambling in the Czech Republic was established with the Gambling Act in 2016, which also introduced a ban on gambling advertising. And country officials do not intend on stopping as they are now launching a self-exclusion register, where gamblers can self-exclude from gambling and operators can add problem gambling customers.
The nationwide register that is set to run on a pilot basis from September 15 until the end of the year is aimed at adding another layer of protection for vulnerable people and groups.