How does the gambling market change in Slovakia

Slovakia is considered one of the European countries that have enough soft laws regarding gambling business. While there are some flaws in the law about gaming, players from Slovakia are provided by relative freedom to take part in a wide range of gambling gaming provided mainly by foreign operators.

Almost all types of gambling activities were legalized in Slovakia since 1992, when the country received sovereign status. At the time when the country was part of Czechoslovakia, all types of gambling were severely controlled and strict restrictions.

Currently, the number of ordinary casinos in Slovakia exceeds two dozen.

Tipos is considered the largest operator and online rates service provider. Back in 2008, Tipos stopped its activities on ground sites. But now the company faces tough competition, mainly by international operators. TipSport is the only fully licensed online operator in Slovakia.

Fortuna SK is another leader in the gambling market of Slovakia. Fortuna manages more than 350 bookmakers, and is considered a monopolist on the market. But the players are not always satisfied with the services provided, and often choose a foreign operator.

All activity of online gambling operators is controlled by the Ministry of Finance. Operators pay a high tax and must have their own servers in Slovakia.

In fact, gambling in online casinos are allowed, but the fact that the Slovak authorities for gambling adhere to a conservative approach to issuing licenses, makes it impossible to create and popularize, for example, poker site and other entertainment gambling resources. However, poker is gaining popularity in both online formats and offline.

The lack of authorized operators of gambling online games also stops the development of the mobile game industry, although a significant number of players get access to foreign mobile casino.

The law on gambling, entered into force in 2005, is the main legislative act that all gambling suppliers must adhere to.

As a result, unlike traditional terrestrial gambling, online casino gambling in Slovakia are currently burdened by the fact that only certain types of games on the Internet are available for the private sector, and the rest, including online casino games, are subject to state monopoly. This means that only the state company can have a license to launch online casino games. Despite this restriction, in the past, many foreign online gembrling operators continued to offer solutions for gambling online entertainment Slovak citizens, not facing pressure from the Slovak authorities. However, recent regulatory and legislation and changes seem to significantly change the game market in Slovakia.

In 2017, a new amendment to the Slovak law on gambling, providing for, among other restrictions, entered into a black list of sites not licensed online casinos. Since 2018, in accordance with this law, the Slovak authorities have strengthened measures against operators engaged in the field of gambling on the Internet without a license in Slovakia. In addition, the launch or advertising of unlicensed foreign gambling in the territory of Slovakia is subject to large fines.

In May 2018, a new law on gambling in response to the growing popularity of online casino. The new bill is aimed at improved regulation of online casino gambling, and not on the fight against them, in particular by creating a licensing system of a commercial online casino. However, online gambling providers will have to meet the conditions, including to have in their registered office in Slovakia or other Member States of the European Union. In addition, in its current form, the draft law requires that gambling providers pay for the licensing fee (3 million euros for online casinos) and regular fees (meaning tax on gambling). Proposed fees for online casino providers make up 23% annual gross income from games.

In addition, a new gambling bureau must be created in administrative. It will have broad licensing authority, verification and issuance of guidelines for gambling.

It should be noted, it is likely that some changes will occur before the final version passes through parliament. According to the current plan of the new law on gambling is to come into force in March 2019, and the licensing of online gaming will be available from 2020.

The new bill proposes a large number of strict rules for online casinos that can deter some operators in Slovakia.

But local operators hope that the implementation of the new law on gambling will bring more freedom for gambling, and gambling Slovakia will grow.

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