On March 1, 2019, Slovakia adopted the Gambling Act (No. 30/2019 Coll.). Some of its provisions entered into force on June 1, 2019. The adopted law is aimed at modernizing the rules for gambling and making the online industry more public, less monopolistic. It is planned that the market will become more open to foreign operators, too. The Gambling Organization Act also protects specific groups of players from the influence of gambling and undertakes balance between the public interest and the legitimate business expectations of gambling operators.
Firstly, the adopted law was treated ambiguously. On December 21, 2018, the then-President of Slovakia, Andrej Kiska, vetoed a new gambling law. But on January 29, 2019, the Slovak National Council voted to override the veto. As a result, the new law came into force.
Who can organize gambling in Slovakia?
The Gambling Regulatory Authority (Urad pre regulaciu hazardnych hier / URHH) has been established with the participation of the Ministry of Finance to monitor gambling in Slovakia. At the same time, the gambling regulator yet does not have a separate budget from the Ministry of Finance; the director of the body is assigned and recalled by the Minister of Finance. The regulator is subsidized by the funds formed by an additional tax of 0.7% of the gross gambling income.
Under the new law, any entity that is registered at the place of residence in the European Union or in the European Economic Area has the right to apply for a gambling license.
Previously, the online market was monopolized by the state-owned operator Tipos. Now the company monopolizes only online lotteries and bingo; 100% of its shares belong to the Ministry of Finance.
- Read more about how to get a gambling license in Slovakia.
As of May 2021, 137 casinos have received a license to operate in Slovakia. Such well-known brands as Fortuna, GG Poker, and Leon are amongst. The full updated list can be found here.
Organizations offering gambling without license will be blacklisted. In court, they will be ordered to put a halt on the use of their illegal sites. The payment service provider will have to withhold payments transferred through to the account of an operator without a license. If a legal entity continues illegal gambling activities, a fine of 1 million euros may be imposed. Also, all those involved in the illegal work of the operator are responsible. The operator whose domains were included in the black list will have to reapply for legalization only in 12 months to resume work.
The list of prohibited sites is published on the website of the Gambling regulator of Slovakia.
How large are taxes online casinos in Slovakia pay?
All casinos operating in Slovakia must pay taxes. Income from online gambling is taxed at a rate of 22%. In addition, it is necessary to pay an additional 0.7%, which will finance the Gambling Regulatory Authority answerable to the Ministry of Finance.
How to work with the target audience of players from Slovakia?
More than 5.5 million people live in the Slovak Republic, the official language is Slovak. Since 2004, Slovakia has been a member of the EU, and the rapid development of the country’s economy begins from the same moment. From January 1, 2021, the minimum wage will be 623 euros.
Since 1992, gambling has been allowed in Slovakia. However, it was possible to play online only on the websites of local Slovak operators.
Since 2017, gambling has been banned, but this state of affairs did not satisfy players, gambling operators, or the Slovak authorities. The new law, adopted in 2019, returned to the market not only local platforms, but also gave the opportunity to enter foreign operators.
Online poker is especially popular in Slovakia. Sports Poker Federation is a respected organization in the country. Slovak player Dag Pavlovic is one of the most famous and profitable players, during his career in “live” tournaments, Slovakia earned more than $ 750,000.
Participation in partner programs for casinos in Slovakia is possible according to two schemes:
- CPA – for the first or accumulative deposit from an active player;
- RevShare — the percentage of all the player’s losses during his “life”.
Payment systems that accept deposits at the casino: Visa, MasterCard, QIWI, WebMoney, Skrill, Neteller, Paysafecard.
The creation of a system for the self-exclusion of players is not funded from the state budget. All obligations to support the program and limit it for a certain category of customers are fully assumed by the gambling operators. The identity of the clients is confirmed by a copy of the relevant documents. Cancellation of the entry in the list is possible only six months after registration.
Ban on land-based gambling in Slovakia: a chance for online casinos or a dangerous trend?
The gambling law adopted in 2019 makes the Slovak municipalities afforded latitude in the interest of the economy. Now local authorities will be able to decide independently whether to allow land-based gambling activities on their territories or not.
The first to exercise this right was the City Council of Bratislava (the capital of Slovakia). Since January 1, 2021, land-based casinos have been banned in the city. This decision was made by the city authorities, having received a petition from 70,000 residents of the city. This is despite the fact that according to SBS News at the end of 2019, there were about 100 gambling establishments operating in the state capital. Their contributions to the city budget amounted to 2.76 million euros ($3.38 million).
At the same time, it is clarified that the ban does not take effect immediately; licensed operators can continue their activities. But they can do this only until the expiration of the licenses — until 2023 or 2024.
However, casino operators claim that such a ban will not solve the problem, but will only strengthen illegal gambling activities. Recall that this is the second attempt to restrict gambling in the country: the first ban began on May 1, 2017 and ended on December 28, 2018. It was declared illegal by a court decision.
Experts note that there is a clear trend in the country — other cities in Slovakia are also planning to ban offline gambling. Perhaps this is the first step towards a nationwide restriction or total ban.
On the other hand, as we know from the laws of economics, if there is a demand, there will be supply. Residents of Slovakia have been playing steadily in casinos for many years, and when offline establishments are closed, they will safely move to online casinos. Especially since the pandemic and quarantine of 2020 have shown that it is simple and convenient.
In all weathers, now is the time to send traffic to the casinos of Slovakia!