Finance Minister Alena Schillerová came up with a new obligation for casino operators: At every card table, roulette or other “live game” a croupier must be continuously present, regardless of whether someone is playing or not.
To meet this demand Czech casinos would have to hire several thousand new people and pay their wages, even though they would have nothing to do for most of the time. Executive Secretary of the Casino Association Ing. Vladimír Eichinger sees this as an incomprehensible requirement. “It is the same as if the state ordered hypermarkets to ensure that all cash desks are continuously occupied, that restaurants have a waiter at each table, or that hair salons have a hairdresser standing by each chair. And throughout the entire opening hours, regardless of whether there are any customers or not.”
Croupiers are not readily available in the market
Due to the lack of croupiers in the labour market, this requirement is virtually unreachable – thousands of new croupiers are simply not there. Croupier’s work is demanding and requires the croupier to work extended shifts and weekends.
“A croupier must undergo six-months of training before they can work in real-time operation. Furthermore, an experienced croupier receives a higher than average salary. Employing an unnecessary number of croupiers would mean that hundreds of millions of Czech crowns would be thrown out of the window, and no company can afford that,” says Eichinger.
Change without any support in the law
Where did the ministry’s request come from? There is no legal support. The Gambling Act does not require casinos have a croupier standing at every table where a live game is played. The law says that a casino must provide at least 3 live game tables throughout the entire operating hours of the casino. But that does not mean that there should always be a croupier at each table.
Therefore, this particular requirement may have only come from ministerial officials, and the ministry exceeded its powers posing this obligation on casino operators. It is simply beyond the law.
According to Vladimír Eichinger, the requirement may even be in conflict with the Gambling Act, and therefore risky for players: “The constant presence of a croupier would mean the player could be under stress to accelerate the progress of the game, which potentially represents a greater loss for the player. The law, on the other hand, is actually trying to attain the exact opposite: it requires breaks during games to prevent the player from continuous betting,” Eichinger points out.
Gambling tax revenue is falling
The requirement for a continuous presence of croupiers at all live games is unique and does not exist in any other country. In addition, this requirement appeared at times when casinos are not doing well. Since 2018, casinos must register each player, which created huge IT expenses and privacy concerns on the side of the players. This resulted in a sharp drop in sales and in gambling tax revenue.
“Even if the thousands of croupiers are available in the labour market, over 90 percent of all casinos could not afford such extra labour cost. Legal entrepreneurs would be forced to close their businesses, the state would lose the remaining tax revenue, and a certain portion of the demand would be served by illegal and untaxed quiz or black casinos,” adds Eichinger.