For Foreigners

Referendum in Tuchoměřice: Can foreigners vote?

Sure they can! The referendum about the construction of a casino in Tuchoměřice takes place on Friday 15 September 2023, 7am – 10pm (7:00-22:00).

Foreigner can vote if:

  • you are an EU citizen
  • you are 18 by or on 15 September 2023
  • you hold a permanent or temporary residence (“trvalý pobyt” or “registrovaný pobyt” in Tuchoměřice)
  • you have requested to be included in the addendum to the regular electoral register by 4pm (16:00) on Wednesday 13 September 2023.

If you meet all of the criteria above, make sure to register at the Tuchoměřice town hall in order to be able to vote in the referendum.

To register, go to Mrs. Masopustová at the town hall (Obecní úřad, V Kněžívce 212) during the town hall opening hours (Monday 8:00 – 12:00 and 13:00 – 17:00 or Wednesday 8:00 – 12:00 and 13:00 – 16:00). Remember to bring your residency permit!


Referendum questions

#1 Do you agree with Tuchomerice allowing on plots #292 and 197 in the cadastre of Knezivka [part of Tuchomerice – see “Where” below] gambling activities listed in § 3 section 2 d) to f) Act No. 186/2016 Coll., that is bingo, slot machines and live play?

#2 If the casinos are built, do you agree with Tuchomerice establishing a municipal police force?

We recommend answering NO (“NE”) to both questions.

What is planned and where

The constructions of two casinos, one of them with a hotel and a MMA arena.

  • A, plot #292 (54,077 m2), owned by POP Airport Outlet
  • B, plot #197 (11,950 m2), owned by Martin Ruzicka, current town hall representative

Why it is controversial

For detailed information, see this article (“A giant casino to be built by the airport on a plot owned by the town’s representative”, use Google Translate – the translation is not perfect grammatically but it is accurate). Our translation. In a nutshell:

Uncertain financial gain

Tuchomerice town hall representatives present the project as a unique opportunity and claim that “without the income from the casinos town projects will be almost impossible” (Zpravodaj 6-7/2023). This is misleading as the financial gain is uncertain at best. There is currently a discussion in the government about changes in the law that may change the way taxes from gambling are redistributed among the state, the region and individual towns; as part of their “consolidation package” the government wants to significantly lower the portion that would go directly to towns where casinos operate. Costs linked to the operation of such a large venue (infrastructure) are, on the other hand, a certainty. In addition, some regional (governmental) representatives call for subsidies (to build schools, water treatment plants, etc.) to be removed from towns that allow gambling because of the additional cost that gambling causes (costs linked to addiction and crime).

Controversial investor(s)

Advertisements published in Zpravodaj present two investors, both linked to a multinational company with headquarters in Vienna that operates casinos, offers online gambling and manufactures slot machines. This company has been investigated for money laundering and tax evasion. In June, representatives of two gambling companies presented the project to the town hall members. One of them, Mr Jiri Bunda, claimed he was representing one of the investors, which the company later denied. It also turned out that when talking to Tuchomerice representatives he lied when he said he had discussed the project with the Minister of Finance, receiving his support, as the minister denied meeting Mr Bunda at all this year. When asked about the fact that what was presented was not true, town hall representatives declined to comment.

Social impacts

Those in Tuchomerice who are against the casinos highlight the negative effects gambling has on society, as well as the risk of large gambling companies having an impact on the town’s decision-making.

Bigger picture: Gambling in the Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, towns have the right to issue a decree that limits or forbids gambling on their territory. Prague is currently discussing stricter measures against slot machines, and there are pressures in Kladno (15 km from Tuchoměřice) to allow for live gambling there, with a lot of opposition from the citizens.

Additional information

Answers to all questions can be found here.

Translation of the article about what is going on in Tuchoměřice.