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Gambling Popularity Grows in Czech Republic

11 August 2005

CZECH REPUBLIC – As reported by the Prague Post: "…Phone gambling and other 'Fast Win' games of chance air on Prima TV nightly after midnight and the offerings are on the rise. In fact, betting over the telephone or the Internet is rapidly gaining in popularity among Czech punters.

"'The Czechs like betting, and the online form [of betting] allows them to place bets virtually any time from anywhere,' observes Martin Hájek, who runs online server esazeni.cz.

"However, the government has outlawed betting via the Internet because it is a nontransparent business where money flows are hard to track. Phone betting is quickly taking its place.

"A recent report by Hospodárské noviny says the volume of phone bets is tens of millions of crowns a year and the market is growing quickly.

"…The industry is attractive because providers don't need to build up a network of terminals as regular odds-betting and lottery providers do, according to Erika's CEO Milan Jelínek.

"…Over the past few years, the gambling industry has been growing. Last year Czechs spent a record 84.6 billion Kc on legal betting — 8.5 percent more than the year before, the Finance Ministry reported. The 2004 betting market included around 400 lottery and betting firms…"

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