To provide an overview of gambling and associated problems in the Czech Republic, including an overview of the historical context, legislation, prevalence, treatment and research base and agenda.
A review of literature and relevant sources.
The trajectory of gambling patterns in the territory of the Czech Republic in the 20th century reflected broad socio‐political changes. Those included significant expansion between the wars, strict state control and bans on some gambling activities during the communist regime and finally dynamic development characterized by a boom in electronic gaming machines (EGMs) and increasing accessibility of gambling facilities after 1989, which aggravated gambling‐related problems. Many municipalities have banned EGMs, which has created conflict in regulation at state and municipal levels. The draft gambling law prepared in 2014 aims to clarify the regulatory framework. Before 2012 there was only sporadic research interest in gambling, but in 2012 the first complex research on gaming and problem gambling in the Czech population took place. The estimated prevalence of problem gambling is currently 2% in the population aged 15–64 years. Preventive measures, counselling and treatment services for problem gamblers are limited.
Weak and ineffective regulation of the gambling market in the Czech Republic during the past 20 years, despite the large growth in gambling, has led to inadequate prevention and response to problem gambling which has become a considerable public health, social and political issue.