Poker players in the Czech Republic found out this week that Partypoker has decided withdraw their application to obtain licensing within the Czech Ministry of Finance. Owned by GVC Holdings, Partypoker stated that the current regulatory environment was the main reason behind the company deciding to not move forward with their pursuit for licensing.
The news was first reported by Poker-Arena which revealed a message sent to Czech players by Party. In the message, the licensing procedure was explained for the country and it was found not to be in compliance with the EU principles. Partypoker stated in the message that they hoped the matter would be addressed by authorities of the Czech Republic in the near future. The online gaming provider also hinted that they may reapply once the issues are resolved.
Just three months ago, Partypoker decided to suspend their operations in Czech after online gaming legislative reforms were introduced. At the time, Party noted that they have been in communication with local authorities and had applied for licensing that would allow the company to operate in the newly regulated market.
The European Commission had been urging the Czech Republic for some time to take on a legislative approach that would be in compliance with general requirements in regards to online gaming. This would make it possible for gambling companies to operate in the country by acting within accordance to regulations, paying taxes and fees as needed.
Once the new gambling laws were introduced, international operators had the ability to apply for licensing with the Ministry of Finance, which is what Partypoker was doing. However, after the regulations were in effect, the Transparency International non-governmental organization began to criticize the failure of local authorities to sanction the operators who were unlicensed for providing their services to players locally. Violators mentioned by the group included Betfair and bet365.
With the new regulations, operators who are licensed must pay 35% tax on their gross gaming revenues. The Transparency International organization also plans to watch how the industry is monitored by local authorities and how the companies that were in breach of the law are approached.