According to the Office for the Protection of Economic Competition, Prague made a mistake when, between 2018 and 2021, in the decrees regulating the operation of gambling games and lotteries in the city, it defined specific addresses where it is possible to operate gaming rooms, casinos or video lottery terminals. However, it did not select the places based on previously known, objective and non-discriminatory criteria. The office wants Prague to pay a fine of 2.4 million crowns. At the same time, Prague received a similar fine for the historic anti-gambling ordinance from 2014 to 2018.
“At the same time, we will also file an administrative lawsuit against that fine, similar to how we filed against the first valid fine this year,” explains Prague City Councilor Adam Zábranský (Pirates).
Prague must pay the fine by November 21 of this year. One of the arguments in the lawsuit will be the right to subsidiarity, i.e. the possibility to make decisions at the lowest level of public administration. This was one of the criticisms of the Office for the Protection of Economic Competition, that the decree was not city-wide.
“Prague has been applying the approach for a long time, when the city districts do not want gambling on their territory at all, then it will accommodate them. However, we will now discuss on a political level whether we will not change the decree, at least temporarily, so that it meets the basic requirement of the ÚOHS, that it be a city-wide decree, made on the basis of some objective criteria and not according to what the city districts want.” concludes Adam Zábranský (Pirates), councilor of the capital city of Prague.
The fine will be paid by the city from gambling revenue. About a dozen town halls and municipal authorities were fined for the same procedure in the past, the fines usually ranged in the hundreds of thousands. At the same time, the fined municipality’s budget does not play a role in the decision.