Gambling regulations must aim to reduce the problematic behaviour

The Think Tank of Rational Addiction Policies released a study that specifies the comparative risk of individual types of gambling and offers a comprehensive view of the impact of gambling in society today. At the webinar organized for members of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic, speakers pointed out that the original intention behind the Czech Gambling Act – to reduce the number of problem gamblers and to minimize the associated social impacts – remains unresolved. Czech legislation also lacks an assessment of the potential risk of specific games in the process of their approval, as well as a mechanism that would allow applying individual, targeted preventive measures.

Although the market of gambling in casinos and similar establishments (technical games, live games) has been shrinking in the Czech Republic in recent years, it is still large in the international context. Think Tank director Jindřich Vobořil emphasized the need to cultivate the gambling market to address the risk and reduce problematic gambling behaviour.

An expert in gambling addiction, František Trantina works at the Department of Addictology of the 1st Medical Faculty of Charles University and the General University Hospital in Prague. Mr Trantina points out the lack of funding for treatment and follow-up care for gambling addicts: “We often hear that gambling revenues invested in sports prevent problematic gambling. This is a common misconception. Unless we allocate part of the proceeds to the research, addiction treatment and prevention fund, I simply don’t care how much we tax gambling.” Aleš Rod, director of the Center for Economic and Market Analysis, adds: “High level of regulation creates economic barriers and shadow market. The gambling market is determined by demand. There is a big difference between regulating demand or activity that responds to demand.”

Experts agree that it is necessary to differentiate the level of taxation according to the risk of individual types of gambling. The revenues contributed to the

public budgets and to solving the gambling-related problems should correspond with the damage they cause. Rational and effective regulation of gambling must take into account the necessary assistance for those directly affected by the problem gambling – i.e. gambling addicts and their loved ones – and provide funding to the prevention and treatment agency – including an option for tax assignment. Only then we will be able to minimize the risks associated with gambling and effectively solve the problem of addiction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *