According to government data released last month, the country may have as many as 110,000 pathological gamblers that account for 1.2 percent of the total population, or nearly double the average number of gamblers per capita in other European Union countries.
Today, casinos, gambling houses called “herna bars” and 24-hour pubs fitted with slot machines are in virtually every neighbourhood of Prague. The Czech Republic has nearly 70,000 electronic gaming machines nationwide, the highest number of any country in Europe.
The largest betting firms, meanwhile, sponsor major concerts and sporting events, painting the streets, websites, newspapers and television with countless advertisements.
This all means that the scale of gambling addiction in the Czech Republic has risen dramatically.
According to the study by the state’s National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addiction, 5 percent of the total population, mostly men, are now at risk of developing a gambling problem.
Last year, Prague mayor Adriana Krnáčová set in motion a proposal to tackle the issue by partially banning casinos, but the proposal was swiftly subdued.