WILLIAM HILL EXITS CZECH REPUBLIC AHEAD OF NEW GAMBLING LAW
January 1st 2017 implementation brings in tough tax structure.
With the January 1st implementation of a new high-tax Gambling Act in the Czech Republic looming, online gambling group William Hill plc has informed its local players and affiliate marketers that it is exiting the market, and advised them to withdraw any positive balances in their accounts.
Citing "recent regulatory developments" in its email to affiliate marketers, the company appeared to hold some hopes for a return, raising the possibility that it may work with them again at some future point.
Highlights of the new Act include:
* A requirement that operators – even those from other EU nations – take out local licensing;
* Operators must disclose full ownership details and make a security deposit of up to Euro 1.9 million, and they must provide proof of Euro 2 million in own equity;
* Applications will not be accepted from companies that have outstanding public debts, or any history regarding criminal activity, bankruptcy or liquidation;
* Online casino and poker operators face a 35 percent tax on GGR, whilst sports betting firms and lotteries are required to pay taxes based on 23 percent of GGR;
* Both categories also pay a 19 percent corporate tax;
* Live dealer gambling – a popular element with online casino players – is not permitted;
* The Act includes enforcement provisions such as ISP and financial transaction blocking against unlicensed operators, along with a heavy fine structure for offenders.
The tough requirements, and in particular the high tax rate, may discourage many from applying, although the government expects larger corporate betting companies to continue to service the market under the new licensing regime.
That optimism has not so far been justified; official figures from the Ministry of Finance show that to date applications – all from major companies – have yet to reach double digits.