Bavarian police say they intercepted 15 kilogrammes of pervitin which traffickers tried to pass across the Czech border last year. That total is down by half compared with the total intercepted in 2013, but around the same levels as 2012. But German police say the intensity of drugs being shipped across the border has not diminished. Rather, the hike in pervitin seizures in 2013 resulted from a massive police clampdown on trafficking that year.
Czech police have announced two separate international successes in the fight against drugs. In the first case they say they have intercepted a mainly Bulgarian ring which imported the drugs needed to produce methamphetamine (or pervitin). The drugs were sourced from ordinary on sale drugs in Turkey and shipped either directly to the Czech Republic or through Poland. The drugs could be bought for half the price in Turkey compared with Poland. In a separate case, they pounced on a ring selling meth and marijuana, partly based on indoor cultivation of cannabis plants in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The Czech finance ministry wants to raise taxes on gambling to almost double the amount it collects from the industry at present. Companies currently pay the standard 19 percent corporate tax rate plus an additional sector tax of 20 percent of winnings. The finance ministry is proposing to raise the gambling tax to 40 percent as of 2016. The annual payment for one gaming machine will go up from the current 20,000 to 40,000 crowns.
The Brno city council has issued a blanket ban on gaming machines in the city as of next year. Gambling will be restricted to licensed casinos and only allowed in 8 of the city’s 29 districts. The ban was supported by 37 out of 55 councilors. Although several small towns have enforced similar bans, Brno is the only big city to have made the move.
A referendum held this Saturday on whether to ban gambling in the town of Olomouc has been declared invalid due to a low turnout. The turnout was a mere 8.2 percent with just 6,689 people taking part. Of those 6, 389 voted in favour of a ban. Paradoxically 9,000 townspeople signed a petition for the referendum to be held.
Poker tournaments are a form of gambling, the Czech Constitutional Court has ruled, rejecting an appeal by the Czech Poker Association. The group contested an interpretation of the country’s legislation, applied by the authorities since 2012, which regulated poker tournaments and required their organizers to get licences from the Finance Ministry. The court argued that chance was a crucial factor in poker, making it gambling rather than a game. In a reaction, the poker association said this means poker can only be played in casinos.
In the Czech Republic, the use of illicit drugs such as pervetin (methamphetamine) rose significantly over the last ten years but it is the abuse of a legal substance, alcohol, which presents an even bigger problem. Those are two of the main findings in an annual report just released about the state of drug abuse in the country.