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.
The annual report for drug abuse in the Czech Republic for 2013, presented by national anti-drugs coordinator Jindřich Vobořil, has shown that the number of long-term pervetin (methamphetamine) users in the country has increased significantly over the last 10 years. In 2003 there were around 18,800 addicts while last year the number was 34,200. The anti-drugs coordinator stressed that the abuse of legal substances, namely alcohol, remains a major problem, estimating the country had at least 500,000 alcoholics. The head of the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addiction, Viktor Mravčík, revealed that annually between 30 and 40 people overdose on opiates, pervetin or other illicit drugs, while around 300 people die from alcohol poisoning.
Czech and German police have broken up an international pervitin producing gang, which operated in Prague and Leipzig. The German Federal Criminal Police Office made the announcement on Thursday. It said German police arrested seven people, who were found in possession of 2.9 tonnes of chlorefedrine, a chemical drug used for manufacturing pervitin. That quantity would be sufficient to make 2.3 tonnes of the drug, which could be sold on the black market for roughly five billion crowns (184 million Euros).
Pharmacies in the Czech Republic have begun selling medical marijuana on prescription. So far the drug – which goes for around CZK 300 a gramme – is available only at one chemist’s in Prague and one in the south Moravian town of Uherské Hradiště. The marijuana, which was legalised last year, can only be acquired using an electronic prescription and is provided to people suffering from multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and other ailments.
The Spanish police are reported to have arrested four Czech nationals caught smuggling 369 kilograms of cocaine on a boat heading for the Canary Islands. The boat was sailing from South America under a Czech flag and the drugs were hidden in a number of secret compartments. The four offered little resistance and the boat was towed to port in Las Palmas.