Online Gambling: The Czech Republic Compared to Poland

Gambling is popular among most European countries, and states are autonomous and free to regulate gambling services. However, they must comply with fundamental freedoms and general provisions under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Most EU nations allow at least some games to be offered online. Some allow certain games like casino, poker, or betting, while others allow all.

Some online gambling services are run by a state-controlled or private operator on the basis of an exclusive right. If you want to find out more about the establishments that operate officially, legal European online casinos in Poland are reviewed by the famous gambling guide HEX: Let’s compare gambling laws in the Czech Republic and Polish legislation in force.

Czech Gambling laws

The Czech Republic defines gambling as a game of chance, a lottery, or betting in which a person wages a bet without a guarantee. Whether the participant wins or loses is partly or entirely subject to chance. The Gambling Act (Section 3 of Act No. 186/2016) differentiates seven types of gambling, where totalizator and odds betting games are counted as one because the only difference is prize determination.

The defined gambling games include lottery, odds betting, totalizator, bingo, technical games, live games, raffle, and small-size tournaments. Games that fulfill the general definition according to Czech gambling laws but don’t meet the requirements of the listed type are prohibited. Gambling game operators must ensure their games fall into one of the seven categories or don’t satisfy the general definition.

Polish Gambling Laws

The Act on Gambling Games in Poland was established on the 19th of November, 2009. This is the central Act regulating gambling services in the country, and it specifies the forms of gambling games allowed in the country: slots, bingo, low-stake machines, casino gambling, lotteries, and sports betting. Games of chance cover a wide range of games, including internet games organized for in-kind prizes or cash, and the result depends entirely on luck.

While it is difficult to distinguish whether a gambling game involving elements of chance and skill should be considered a game of chance, such games are not prohibited by the Act. Even a minor aspect of chance qualifies as a “game of chance.” Polish law doesn’t expressly define skill games, and competitions that exclusively assess the skill of the participants aren’t bound by the gambling act and its restrictions. Games of chance cover roulette, lotteries, bingo, and dice games. However, the law regulates various subtypes of most of these games.

The Difference in Gambling Policies

As mentioned, gambling in the Czech Republic is allowed under the Gambling Act, with zero restrictions on the number of licenses. Participants need a permit as long as the regulatory requirements are met, but local municipalities can still regulate gambling within their cities. Municipalities in the Czech Republic can only restrict technical games and land-based operations, bingo, live games, and minor tournaments. However, local authorities do not influence online gambling operations.

In Poland, the state of gambling regulations is primarily a result of the political scandal of 2009 (gambling affair). The scandal revealed some prominent government officials and the ruling party were liaising with gambling businesses and tried to amend the gambling laws in their favor. As a result of the gambling affair, the Polish government introduced the Act, showing it is not influenced by lobbying. As a result, the Act is stringent, with critical areas of the gambling business prohibited.

The Polish government is generally opposed to gambling, seeing it as highly addictive and questionable. However, it is not outlawed, as it is one of the primary sources of national income. Still, many restrictions on gambling are a significant burden on the market’s overall development. This is also confirmed by Aleksandra Maj and Anna Rosak, who are digital marketing and online gaming specialists at PolskieKasynoHEX

Outlook on Czech Gambling Activities

Because of the strict anti-COVID-19 measures and the impact on the industry, municipalities are enhancing restrictions, which means online gambling is on the rise. Between 2017 and 2020, the volume of online gambling activities increased by 18%, which is expected to continue rising. Online gambling is a long-term trend, and the recent report released by the Ministry shows possible amendments to the Gambling Act because of this. Nevertheless, the legal definition of games of chance under the Act is vast, and Czech gambling operators may start offering esports betting.

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