Sports Betting in the Czech Republic

Learn How and Where to Get in the Game

Kevin Weaver

Written by Kevin Weaver Published on 01.07.2011 14:08:08 (updated on 01.07.2011) Reading time: 6 minutes

Placing a bet on a sporting event can definitely add to your excitement while watching the game, but before you put your money on the line make sure you are aware of all the options available to you and the rules you should follow.

Online Betting
There are currently only five betting operators in the Czech Republic that are licensed to provide betting services, all of them now complete with an online option.The most comprehensive operator of the five would have to be Fortuna (www.ifortuna.cz). It has the most branch locations (around 600) as well as an excellent website available completely in English as well as Czech. However, before you log on and try to place a bet you must adhere to a newly passed Czech law that states you must first register in person at a branch of your choosing, providing proof of age, before betting online. This was enacted to try and curb underage betting among those not yet past their 18th birthday.

 

Once registered you are free to place a bet in any fashion you choose, be it online, in person, over the phone with a Fortuna operator or through their newly created mobile phone app (downloadable at mobile.sportingbet.cz). Fortuna also provides benefits through their loyalty club of which you can become a member free of charge by simply registering online. This will remove all handling fees on your bets as well as provide you with the opportunity to make a little money off of any friends who you get to join up. This membership will also make you eligible for the year-long competition to determine the best bettor in the CR which carries with it a prize of 150,000CZK.


Fortuna, like most sportsbooks in the country, provides a full menu of sporting events on which to bet. Although football is clearly the most popular option you will find the following alternatives readily available for you to wager on: ice hockey, men´s and women´s tennis, basketball, baseball, golf, motorsports, boxing, volleyball, handball, beach football and futsal (5-on-5 indoor football).

FEATURED EMPLOYERS

The other English-friendly option among the five licensed operators is Sazka; however they have fallen on tough times of late. As the only state-run betting operator they were set up to divert 90% of their profits towards public organizations and funds but over the last seven years they have accumulated CZK 9 billion in debts. This has led to the organization being dragged into the uncertainty of ongoing bankruptcy proceedings leading many bettors to shy away for the time being. In an industry where 20% profit margins are considered a disgrace, these types of losses have to be considered staggering.

The other three licensed operators are Chance, Synot Tip and Tip Sport. All three provide almost identical services to those offered by Fortuna with the one glaring omission being a serious lack of English services. If your Czech is up to par you should have no problems with these operators but regardless of what language you speak, numbers are a universal language. These three sites should still be used to compare available odds to make sure you are always getting the best price on your wager.

Betting in Person

Between the five operators there are over 1000 branches spread out around the country meaning if you want to bet and watch the game in the same place your options are overflowing and certainly could not all be covered in this space. Be sure and check out each sportsbook´s website for a full list of branch locations.

A couple of establishments that would be worth checking out however are the Megasportbar located at the Chodov shopping center in Prague 4 and the Tipgames Sports Bar (Ve Smeckach 12)found in New Town. Megasportbar is full of plenty of gaming options from billiards to bowling to slots making it a great option for those of you who want something to do when the game is over or has yet to begin. At Tipgames you will find a more traditional sports bar atmosphere complete with 7 TVs and 1 large plasma screen ready to display all the day´s action.

Understanding the Odds
Most European countries, including the Czech Rep, use the decimal format for displaying their odds as opposed to the fractional format used in the U.K. or the moneyline format in use in the U.S. The following table provides a relative comparison of the three formats.

European Format U.K. Format U.S. Format
decimal  fractional  moneyline
 1.50  1/2  -200
 2.00 1/1 +100
 2.50 3/2 +150
 3.00 2/1  +200

                    
As you can see a standard even money bet of 1/1 in which a 100CZK bet will win you a further 100CZK is expressed in the decimal format as 2.00. You are essentially doubling your money. The easiest way to remember how to use the decimal format is to simply multiply your bet amount by the decimal odds you are betting on. For example, a 200CZK bet at 3.00 odds would leave you with a total of 600CZK and your 200CZK bet is part of that 600CZK. A 300CZK bet at 3.00 odds would leave you with 900CZK in total and a profit of 600CZK.

The other numbers on the betting board that should be clarified are the numbers corresponding to which team you are betting on. Matches are always listed with the home team first and their odds are displayed under the number 1. The away team´s odds are listed under the number 2 and the odds for a draw are listed under the number 0. If you bet the odds under the number 10, you are betting on the home team to either win or draw. This bet will produce a smaller payout than simply betting 1 or 0 as you have two ways to win. Accordingly, betting the odds in the 02 slot is a bet for the away team to win or draw and a bet for 12 is betting on either a home win or an away win but no draw.

One other type of betting that deems mentioning is spread betting. Essentially the bookmaker tries to determine the expected margin of victory for the favorite and then uses this number as the spread. Using the NBA finals as an example, let´s say the bookmaker sets the spread as Dallas -4 over Miami. This means that a bet on Dallas would have to see them win by at least five points for you to win your bet and a bet on Miami would mean they could lose by three points or less and you would come out the victor.

If you come out victorious and the amount won is less than 10,000CZK your winnings are completely tax-free. If your winnings exceed 10,000CZK you will have to pay a 20% withholding tax. Don´t be too discouraged by this as your betting counterpart in the U.S. will be paying a hefty 50% tax.

Fantasy Sports
If you would like to get the rush of having something riding on the game without having the bankroll to be betting on games every week then you should definitely check out fantasy sports.For a reasonable one-time fee (usually around 500CZK) you select a team of players in a fantasy draft in your sport of choice and then compete week-to-week for the duration of the season with the winner claiming the prize money. If you are an enthusiastic sports fan, nowhere else will you find a more favorable ratio of money wagered to total excitement, one fee for a whole season of ups and downs. Here are a few fantasy sports leagues that are for residents of the Czech Rep: EPL- www.arsenalsite.cz; NHL- www.nhlpro.cz; NFL- forum.cznfl.com and MLB – www.mlbcz.com/fantasy.php

Non-sports Betting
Within the Czech operators books the options are limited to merely political bets and bets on the outcome of the popular Czech reality show Czechoslovak Superstar. Outside of the Czech operators there are many more obscure and interesting options. Among the major U.K. betting sites such as Ladbrokes, Unibet and Bwin you can find betting options ranging from who will win an Oscar at the upcoming academy awards to whether or not a particular sex-scandal ridden footballer will reconcile with his wife to even when the next snowfall will be. The possibilities are endless.

Whatever type of bet interests you, make sure and get the best odds, bet within your means and keep your fingers crossed.

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