The government of the Czech Republic is set to bring in new measures to protect gamblers at risk of harm by the middle of next year.
The news was announced by government minister Alena Schillerova. She said that there would be a new self-exclusion register covering the gambling industry. According to the plans, any individual on the list would not be able to take part in any form of gambling, at retail premises, casinos or online.
The intention, according to Schillerova, is that people on the list will include firstly those with bankruptcy declarations. It will also include those diagnosed with a gambling addiction and customers who are currently receiving welfare support. She added that more details would be released at the end of the year. Following a period of testing, she hopes the register would be in place by the middle of 2020.
Stakeholders have welcomed the proposal, including the Czech Republic’s National Drug Policy Coordinator Jarmila Vedralova. She said that she is worried about the trend of young men gambling online. She also points out that nearly half of all gambling deposits are online.
“The proportion of online players is increasing, and sports betting is the biggest problem. Young men are particularly at risk from developing problems. This is what our next steps are targeting. It’s not a matter of deleting new technologies from life. Instead, we’re looking to find a balance for their use.”
Online gaming was legalized in the country in 2017, and there has been widespread praise for the efforts of the Czech authorities to crack down on illegal operators. This has seen hundreds of illegal sites taken down and more than £20 million in fines levied on rule breakers.