Synot withdraws from Czech sports funding following new tax hikes

Ivo Valenta

Synot International, the Czech Republic’s biggest gambling operator has announced that it will scrap all its sports sponsorships in protest of ‘unfair’ tax hikes on its services.

Releasing a statement on Thursday, the licensed operator detailed that it had not been advised on the government’s sudden tax rises to its core product channels.

Synot operations will be deeply impacted by a shift from a flat 20% tax on all gambling services, to a new system which charges 23% duty on sports betting and lottery revenues, with a further 28% excise on slot machine revenues.

Following a review of the new tax charges, Synot governance moved to withdraw all of its high coverage Czech sports sponsorships. Governance told Czech media sources that under the new legislative conditions, it operations could no longer afford to fund national sporting organisations or initiatives.

At present Synot is the title sponsor of Czech LIGA, the country’s top football league, furthermore the operator is also shirt sponsor of AC Sparta Prague, Czech football’s most popular team. As leading gambling operator for the Czech Republic, Synot holds further commercial tie-ups with the national basketball and ice hockey leagues.

Synot Chairman Ivo Valenta, stated that the government and its advisors had taken a ‘populist and unprofessional approach’ to taxing the industry.

Valenta who approved Synot’s sponsorship withdrawal, stated that the companies actions were justified under the imposed market conditions, as the government would have to face up to the consequences of its high charges.

Czech Football Association President Miroslav Pelta, told local news sources that he was not surprised by Synot’s actions. “We have expected this development in connection with the change of the lottery law. The decision of Synot Group has not surprised us at all”

Pelta and the Czech FA team will now look to find a new sponsor for the remainder of the Czech Liga season.

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