In 2021, a historic change took place in the gambling industry in the Czech Republic.
For the first time, the income of operators from internet games exceeded the income of land-based operations. Based on data of the Ministry of Finance collected from tax reports, income from internet games was EUR 886 million; income from land-based operations was EUR 706 million.
To illustrate the rising popularity of online gaming, in 2017 income from internet games was only EUR 351 million while land-based operations achieved an income of EUR 1.26 billion, which reveals that over the past five years income from internet games have doubled while income from land-based operations decreased by almost half.
Player preferences have changed for various reasons. Technological development in the last few years have allowed new modes of operations, including mobile apps, electronic banking and electronic identity, which eases access to online gambling. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this development. The catalyst, however, appears to be the adoption of the new Gambling Act effective from 1 January 2017 which provided stricter rules specifically for land-based operations and a general framework for internet games.
Statistically, at the end of 2016, there were 70 licensed operators of land-based operations operating more than 4,000 establishments. As of June 2022, there are only 47 licensed operators of land-based operations operating less than 1,000 establishments. As for online gaming, there were 11 licensed operators of internet games at the end of 2016, but 20 licensed internet gaming operators as of June 2022.
The trend within the Czech market seems to be clear. However, the question remains whether the end of COVID-19 pandemic will see players return to gaming establishments or will the current trend in the growth of online gambling continue as additional technological developments strengthen the position of internet games at the Czech market.
For more information on the Czech gambling industry, contact your CMS client partner or CMS regulatory experts Jan Ježek and Tomáš Matějovský.
More information on gambling regulation in the Czech Republic can be found in these CMS guides below:
Gambling law and regulation in the Czech Republic | CMS Expert Guides
Gambling laws in the Czech Republic | CMS Expert Guide