On March 26th, 2009, the Finance Ministry of the Czech Republic has decided to permit regulated online wagering in the country. The decision was great with great support from local wagering firms, but has led to a big decline in business at their wagering shops. The Finance Ministry’s decision gives Czech gaming companies more leverage in the competition with international online wagering organizations, which have long had uncontrolled access to the Czech gaming market.
Tipsport, which manages 1,020 shops in the Czech Republic, is feeling the effects after only three months. Company spokesperson Lubomir Jezek said that online casino gaming accounts for about thirty percent of Tipsport’s business and expects an even bigger interest in online gaming in the near future. The online gaming growth has led the organization to decide to shut down some of its outlets.
Jezek said that we see the World Wide Web as a new business opportunity rather than something to edge out land-based shops. Fortuna, which has as many as 650 land-based shops in the Czech Republic, stated that online based betting had improved considerably since the new law, accounting for twenty five percent of total business and causing a 5% drop in business in their betting outlets. Like Tipsport, Fortuna expects that online gaming will improve, resulting in the shutdown of some of Fortuna’s less profitable shops.
Fortuna spokesman Tomas Bahnik said that they will fully optimize their branch office system in the near future. He added that they will scale down the number of their shops to function effectively. Jezek said that Czechs enjoy wagering on sports outcomes, mostly in the game of soccer, which accounts for sixty percent of Tipsport’s business. Jezek said that business in their branches may be down but there is no sign that the gaming industry is losing its popularity with gamers. He added that they hope to improve both their online and land-based gaming interests.