Gambling in Croatia
Croatia is a Southern state in Central Europe, where where gambling law provides that most forms of gaming is allowed. In 2014 the government passed the law allowing operations of land-based gaming establishments and online casinos in the territory of Croatia. Right now there are over 10 casinos operating in the country, along with bookmakers and bingo halls. As far as online gambling in Croatia is concerned, local websites as well as foreign resources are all available to the players. Due to the fact that all proceeds from tourism comprise a substantial part of Croatia's budget, the government has mainly been focusing on the development of the entertainment industry. This is the reason why the country supports gambling operators, and minors are the only ones whose access to this kind of entertainment is restricted.
Gambling Games in Croatia
According to the rating by state-owned operator Hrvatska Lutrija, these are the slots that have been most popular among the Croatian players (in descending order): Retro Reels Extreme Heat, Retro Reels, Gold Factory, Break da Bank Again, Startlight Kiss, Break da Bank, Reel Gems, Adventure Palace, Mermaids Millions and Joker 8000.
Gambling in Croatia is regulated by the Gamblin Law (Zakon o igrama na sreću)ю This legislative act subdivides the games allowed in the country into 4 different categories: Lotteries and bingo, Casino games, Sport bets andSlot machines. The gambling industry in Croatia is regulated by the Ministry of Finance. A gambling operator can obtain the license once the application has been approved and the tender won. Yet at the same time the focus is on how much the profits of the company can bring to the state budget. If the government decides in favour of the operator, the operator can be issued the appropriate permit within the next 60 days.
To participate in a tender, a company must provide the following information: he company's data: addresses of corporate headquarters, list of owners and copies of identification documents, documents that confirm the sufficient volume of the startup capital and authentic records of origin of these funds certificates that show the absence of any criminal records of the persons authorised. If there is a foreign state involved, the applicant must submit the documents that verify the absence of any tax debts in the country where the registration was issued. The company's license can be revoked in case of a bankruptcy or failure to comply with the conditions indicated when the agreement was being signed with the Croatian authorities. The permit is issued for the period of 15 years. Operators must pay the annual fee for the privilege to organise gambling events in the amount of 500,000 HRK for land-based establishments and 3,000,000 HRK for online casinos. These are the factors that can serve as the reason for any premature termination of the contract:
- Providing false information during the application process
- Violation of provisions indicated in the agreement
- Failure to comply with technical requirements
- Commencing the operations prior to the dates indicated by the Ministry of Finance
- Absence of any signs of company's operations within the timeframe indicated
- Absence of the bank guarantee of the appropriate volume
- Change in the company's structure with no permission obtained by the Ministry of Finance
At the end of each year the company must present its business plan for the next year. No later that the 20th day of each month the operator must produce a report about the operations conducted throughout the previous month. The minimum authorised capital is 4,000,000 HRK. The amount of the minimum bank guarantee is 1,500,000 HRK for land-based establishments and 3,000,000 HRK for online casinos. These are the types of gambling that are subject to licensing: Lotteries, Bingo, Casino card games and table games, Slot machines and Bets on sporting events. Land-based establishments must monitor the visitors. Access will only be granted when a personal identification has been produced. People in uniforms can only enter casinos when they carry out their service duties. The administration has the right to deny entry to the visitors if there are any doubts arising concerning fair play. The restrictions are valid as long as there is a reason to assume that gambling entertainment inflicts systematic financial harm to the player. Casino employees must have permits that confirm their professional qualifications.
Along with the casinos, operations of gambling halls with slot machines are allowed in Croatia as well. A company that deals with this type of gaming business must impose restrictions on underaged players and not allow them to enter. Slot machines can be placed on specially designed premises that have a separate entrance or take up a separate building. To qualify for a permit, the operator must have an authorised capital of no less than 2,000,000 HRK. The size of the bank guarantee necessary will depend on the number of slot machines:
- 31 to 60 slots - 500,000 HRK
- 61 to 90 - 700,000 HRK
- 91 to 120 - 900,000 HRK
- 121 to 150 - 1,100,000 HRK
- 151 to 180 - 1,300,000 HRK
- 181 to 21 - 1,500,000 HRK
- 211 to 250 - 2,000,000 HRK
- Over 250 - 5,000,000 HRK
The amount of the annual fee is 10,000 HRK per slot machine. Monthly fee is 25% of the profit. According to the 2010 Regulation on Interactive Online Casinos, it is legal to provide gambling services in Croatia. All people of full age can play on the websites that feature gambling entertainment. Online games are also provided by a state-run operator called Hrvatska Lutrija, as well as by its subsidiary Prva Sportska Kladionica. The company cooperates with suppliers of gaming software products such as Intralot Interactive and Microgaming.
Development of the Gaming Market in Croatia
Gambling industry in Croatia started growing intensely back in 1991, when the Republic proclaimed its independence. Since the government has been positioning the country as a tourist attraction from the very outset, special attention was paid to gambling houses that operated at major hotels. The largest casino at Mulino Lux Casino Hotel, operates as a hotel complex in the resort town of Buje. Lately the players have been showing more interest in sports betting. So far there is no reason to anticipate that regulating legislation will ever clamp down on the gambling industry in Croatia. Since 2013 the Republic has been a member of the European Union, the requirements concerning free access to goods and services registered in the EU apply to Croatia as well. Croatian players are unlikely to face any restrictions on playing in foreign online casinos. So, Croatian gambling laws give enough leeway to the players. Regulation of the gambling industry is structured in such a way that it should minimise the harm caused by ludomania (gambling addiction) and contribute to the replenishment of the state budget. Players can choose the games that will suit their taste without being worried about any limitations being imposed by the authorities.