The Czech Regulator Confirmed Prague’s Ban on Slot Machines

February 7, 2024 | Gaming Machines

In September 2020, the municipality of Prague banned all technical gambling in the capital. The ban that applies to slot machines applies to all gaming rooms, even if they are licensed.

The city-wide ban was due to come into effect in 2024. This means that arcades can continue to offer technical games until the end of their licences, the longest of which runs until this year.

The slot machines were still in place and working in December. However, sources from Prague state that the removal of machines from the sites has been ongoing since the beginning of this year. Some were still in place in January.

The IGB contacted the Gambling Regulatory Authority and confirmed that the ban came into force on 1 January. This means that casinos can no longer legally offer slot games.

Union director Martin Szabo noted that officials actually began enforcing the ban as early as 2021. However, sites with longer licenses could continue to operate the machines during that time.

Slot machines are still legal and available in licensed establishments outside of Prague.

You still have access to online slots in Prague

Although the ban only applies to brick-and-mortar slots, there are still online games that can be played in Prague. However, the same ordinance that led to the slot machine ban also updates online gambling regulations.

Previously, unlicensed online gambling sites were only classified as illegal if they specifically targeted Czech players. It is now updated for all websites that do not have an active and accessible license in the country. The change took effect on December 31, 2023.

However, Szabo said in a statement to iGB that this will not be the end of changes in the Czech Republic. Referring to a review by the Office for the Protection of Economic Competition (ÚOHS), the order was found to be “completely inconsistent with the statutory provisions of competition law”.

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“We cannot rule out the possibility of further changes in the functioning of gambling in Prague due to fines,” said Szabo.

Prague authorities continue to intervene against illegal activity

Despite the full enforcement of the ban, the machines continue to operate in some locations. The Prague customs officials therefore began to act.

Last month, an investigation revealed an illegal gambling hall on Střížkov in the Prague 9 district. The police found 16 technical gaming devices in operation.

Hardware, mechanical reset keys and cash worth 1.6 million CK (£53,659/€62,867/$67,656) were seized.

Customs officials conducted a total of 76 raids last year and found 14 illegal locations. A total of 45 machines were confiscated.

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