Czech Republic launches new exclusion register

The Czech Republic Ministry of Finance has announced the launch of a new exclusion register that will allow consumers in the country to block themselves from accessing gambling services.

The register will launch as a pilot scheme from today (15 September), with players able to sign up immediately and exclude themselves from land-based and online gambling offerings across the country.

Licensed operators in the country will also be required to join the programme and begin blocking access to their services when the pilot stage of the project concludes on 20 December.

Gambling operators will need to verify whether a person seeking to access their gambling offerings has signed up to the register. Players named on the register will not be able to gamble or set up another user account with any licensed operator.

Apart from players who sign up to the scheme voluntarily, individuals can also be added to the register by a third party if they are being treated for problem gambling or are gambling in an unsustainable way; are declared bankrupt; or are receiving welfare payments from the Czech state.

Czech Minister of Finance Alena Schillerová, who in November pledged that the register would be up and running by mid-2020, said: “Thanks to this register, it will no longer be possible for money paid out in benefits to end up in gaming machines, as is unfortunately still the case in many incidences.

“The launch of a system that can exclude vulnerable groups or pathological gamblers from the temptation of hard gambling will help not only them, but also their families and those close to them.”

The register forms the second phase of a three-step process to tackle problem gambling in the Czech Republic. Last June, the country launched its Analytical Module of the Gambling Information System (AISG), which collects gaming and financial data from operators to support regulatory strategy in the market.

This includes managing tax on gambling, with the country in January of this year having implemented a new structure whereby taxes are split into three levels, according to how harmful the government perceives the activity to be. Lotteries, live games and bingo operators are now taxed at 30%, up from 23%, while the rate for fixed odds betting increased from 23% to 25%.

The third phase of this process will see the Ministry of Finance work with public administration bodies to develop internal processes to address gambling related issues going forward.

The launch of the exclusion register comes after Prague’s City Council ratified a new decree that will prohibit all forms of technical gambling games in the capital city from 2024.

The decree, which was last week also given the green light by lawmakers in the city, will ban mechanical, electromechanical and electronic games, including slot machines and video lottery terminals.

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