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Slovakia is ready for global operators in 2019 with new gambling law

Update 27/12/2018:

Slovakia is ready for global operators in 2019 with new gambling law

Andrej Kiska, Slovakia's president has vetoed the new gambling regulation commented on this post. Kiska said that there were not enough "consumer protection measures". In 2019 Slovakia's parliament could amend the regulation or try to override the veto.

Gambling regulation has become a trending topic in Europe and America. Recently we wrote about how Sweden and Switzerland will implement new laws to rule the gambling market, and now it is the turn for Slovakia.

Slovakian gambling legal background

In 1992, gambling became legal in Slovakia after being illegal for many years when the country was a member of the Soviet Union. After that, Slovakian players could gamble in any of the 20+ casinos operating within the country. But we are mainly talking about casino games, due to poker wasn't very popular there.

Today the TOP-10 Slovakian players, led by Jan Bendik with $3,4MUSD in profits, who has won over $9MUSD in poker tournaments, a good number considering that Slovakia is a small country with just 5 million of inhabitants.

But in 2017, everything changes when Slovakia announced a gambling blacklist which included big companies like Bet365, 888, William Hill, and threatening with fines up to €500,000. The effectiveness of this measure is not very clear as Slovakian players could still access offshore poker rooms the same way US citizens does.

New Slovakian gambling regulation

March 1st, 2019, is the initial date established by the Slovak authorities for the new gambling model. The new regulation, approved by the Slovak parliament in July 2018, opens the market to foreign operators, with the only condition to have a local representative in the country (similar to Sweden and other countries). The Slovak state will only hold the monopoly (TIPOS) of numerical lotteries, special bingo and, receipt lotteries; all other forms of gambling, including poker, will be open.

The licensing cost is €3M (EUR) for online betting and €5M (EUR) for a combo including online betting and casino games. Licenses will be granted for 10 years. Global operators can apply for a license after March 1st, 2019, and licensed will be approved by July 2019 (sports betting will be only available in 2020). A 22% tax is proposed for online gambling including poker.

A "bad operator" clause is included in the new regulation, asking that operators looking for a license should not be related with blacklisted companies for at least 12 months before requesting the license.

Conclusion

As we said before, 2019 will be the year of new gambling laws and regulations. Although Slovakia is a small country, it is interesting to see how most European countries are working for an open gambling market, which benefits mostly the players and the country citizens. Even this year we saw the opening French and Spanish market, and now we can see that Slovakia is on board on the train of the future of gambling.

Stay tuned on our Telegram channel for more EV+ news.

Vargoso 19.12.18
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