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Slovakia will soon allow off-shore casinos for the first time

Wed, Feb 20, 10:37am by Staff Writer

Slovakia’s parliament passed a new gambling act in December 2018 that will allow foreign operators to take bets in the country.

The Ministry of Finance drafted an act whereby off-shore online casinos can operate in the nation as long as they buy a betting and casino license.

Each of these licenses will cost 3 million euros and last up to 10 years. The cost of a betting and casino license will be 5 million euros if a brand applies for both.

The combined license will be valid for a five year period, with an option for an additional five years.

The new act is set to be in place by March 1, 2019 with the final touches and full regulatory clearance due in July 2019.

Alongside a number of countries that were once part of the Soviet Union, Slovakia had upheld laws regulating and banning gambling for decades.

In 1992, Slovakians were permitted to gamble at iGaming platforms, as long as they were operated within the country.

In the years that followed, these sites have enjoyed increasing popularity, with a few success stories scattered amongst the thousands of players, including Jan Bendik who has raked in more than $3.4 million from online gaming.

In 2017, a sharp revision of gambling laws such a number of big iGaming brands blacklisted, with 500,000 euro fines for those breaking the rules.

That’s what makes this recent new bill allowing off-shore companies to take a slice of the nation’s gambling market a surprising one.

The Office for Regulation of Gambling to be introduced

As per the bill, a new gambling regulator, the Office for Regulation of Gambling, will come into effect.

Currently it is the Ministry of Finance that acts as Slovenia’s gambling regulator.

The functioning of the regulator will be bankrolled by a tax on lottery operator turnover of 0.7 per cent of gross gaming revenue in the case of operators of other games.

Foreign operators will need to have a representative in Slovakia who will register with the Office and communicate with the Office on behalf of the operators.

The new set up will see the state monopoly only apply to numerical lotteries, special bingo and receipt lotteries.

The stance taken in Slovakia is not too dissimilar to that in other European nations, which have relaxed their once strict online gambling laws.

The Netherlands is reportedly one step closer to the legalisation of online gambling according to European Gaming.

The 2019 government budget contains information about the budgetary consequences of the legalisation of online gambling.

The expected tax revenue from sports betting alone is expected to be 6 million euro for 2020 according to the report.

The government expects to rake in 12 million euros each year starting from 2021 from sports betting taxes.

The tax revenue from other soon to be legal forms of online gambling such as roulette, bingo and poker are yet to be included in those figures.

It is believed to be unlikely that the Dutch Senate will not pass the bill. In the event that it did not, the government would be missing out on the calculated tax revenue that could turn out problematic for the concerning ministry.

The new gambling law will be in effect from the 1st of July 2020.

The Gaming Authority will need six more months to issue the necessary permits to online gambling operators, after which time gambling will be legal in the Netherlands.

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