Game business, legislation and licenses in San Marino

Gambling in San Marino

San Marino is one of the smallest and oldest sovereign states in Europe. To date, gambling in San Marino is legal. Gambling legislation is regulated by two laws – № 67/2000 and № 143/2006. According to these laws, almost all types of gambling, including online, are allowed. Ente di Stato dei Giochi (or ESG) has been working in the Republic of San Marino since 2007 - it controls and permits gambling in the country. ESG works under the leadership of the Grand and General Council and the State Congress. For the first time, the gambling business in San Marino was legalized in 1880 in order to obtain additional revenues to pay off the government debt. Casinos were legal until 1949. However, after that, the government announced a ban on any gambling in the country. The ban was lifted in 2007. It was the year Giochi del Titano S.P.A was founded. The company is controlled by ESG and the state owns the majority of its shares. Giochi del Titano provides gambling and betting in San Marino. Bingo Keno halls, slot machines and a poker room in Rovereto are under its management. In 2017, a casino with the company's name was opened. To date, this is the only land-based casino in the country. It is also located in Rovereto. Its visitors are not only local residents but also a huge number of foreigners. According to statistics, about 164 thousand players visited the casino in 2015. The income was about 16.45 million EUR. As for online gambling, it is allowed and regulated at the legislative level in the country. As far as licensing in San Marino is concerned, currently, no operator has a license to run an online casino in San Marino. But since the gambling law and the amendment to it, signed in 2014, do not say anything about the players' responsibility, they can freely visit websites of foreign operators.

Gambling Games in San Marino

Players from San Marino prefer slot machines, poker, roulette and various card games. There is no information about specific slots that are most in demand. Visiting foreign online casinos, the residents of the state play slots which are legendary in a way. These include models by Novomatic, Aristocrat, IGT, WMS and others, for example: Book of Ra, Sizzling Hot, Zeus, Cleopatra and Pompeii. San Marino doesn't have its own developers of gambling software. Online gambling in San Marino is allowed. However, the government does not issue licenses to online casino operators. Accordingly, there are no virtual casinos in the country. Though local players can freely visit foreign operators' websites. This is not prohibited by law. To date, about 200 online casinos with an English or Italian interface are ready to accept players from San Marino.

Gambling Legislation in San Marino

Currently, only two laws regulate the gambling business in San Marino: № 67/2000 and № 143/2006. Gambling legislation, adopted in 2000, provides a legal framework for control, supervision and taxation of the gambling industry, as well as for licensing of operators. Law № 143/2006 defines the body that is responsible for monitoring and regulating the gambling industry in the country and its responsibilities. According to the laws, the following kinds of gambling are allowed in the territory of the state: Sweepstake, Lottery, Draws of prizes, Lotto, Betting, Games of chance and Skill-based games. The legal system of the country defines a number of social responsibility measures for casino premises that are licensed. Only registered players who have reached the age of 18 are allowed to enter after providing identity documents. According to AML rules, all players who have won more than 2,000 EUR or have made a bet of such an amount must be identified and registered.

Regulators

According to Act № 143/2006, the regulator of gambling activities in San Marino is ESG. It works under the supervision of the Grand General Council and the State Congress. Its duties are as follows: implementation of exclusive games, draws of prizes, lotteries, lotto, games for luck, skill games and betting according to the law № 67/2000, control and supervision of gambling activities in accordance with the law No. 67/2000,preparation of draft laws and regulations concerning the implementation of gambling and adoption of measures and initiatives aimed at the safe and transparent management of games, as well as the prevention of socially harmful consequences of gambling. The implementation of gambling referred to in the first paragraph is possible through the conclusion of contracts with private companies. But in any case, ESG reserves the right to organise gambling: Approval of the rules for each game, determination and regulation of technical parameters of the equipment operation and computers intended for gambling. This is necessary to confirm that even using real-time management, the technical conditions of operation of each game are strictly observed in terms of the player's chances of winning or losing and approval of proposals for the installation of equipment and computers from the owner of the contract intended for advanced games ESG signs contracts after the approval of the State Congress which is responsible for verifying the compatibility of the initiative with the economic and social interests of the state.

Gambling Licenses

A person who intends to organise and hold (even once) an exclusive game, a draw of prizes, a lottery, a lotto, a game of luck, a skill-based game or a bet must submit a request at the Control and Supervision Committee (Comitato di Controllo e Vigilanza). The request must contain:

  • An indication of the basic data on the responsible people who intend to organise and conduct business
  • A brief report of the reasons why one of the types of gambling activity is organised
  • The organisation and duration
  • Regulation of activities and the procedure
  • An exact indication of the reward, payout or prize
  • The applicant's obligation to pay taxes

The decision to issue a permit is made within 30 days from the date of the request. The State Congress may grant the right to organise and conduct gambling to natural or legal persons. They include: limited liability companies and stock companies. Legal persons must have fully paid social capital in the amount of not less than 500 million GBP or 258,228 EUR. This amount can be changed at the suggestion of the Committee. The license for conducting a gambling business is valid for no more than 5 years. The act issued by the Control and Supervision Committee must contain the following mandatory elements: License validity term, The subject of licensing with specified sectors of intervention and activities, The object of licensing, The amount of taxes and fees, Provision of a bank guarantee for the timely fulfilment of a tax obligation by the licensee and regular payment of winnings, The obligation of the licensee to provide to the regulatory authorities any information, news, documents relating to the object of authorization and revenue, as well as any other relevant information for assessing and monitoring activities in accordance with the license. All operators who have permission to provide gambling entertainment are required to pay income tax of 12%. The taxes must be paid within sixty days after the completion of each game.

Development of the Gambling Market in San Marino

Gambling business in San Marino is legal and brings quite a good income to the state budget - about 16 million EUR per year even though there is only one company operating in the country that provides gambling. As for online gambling, the situation here is rather complicated. Theoretically, online gambling is allowed here but no operator has received a license from the government. So local players have to go to websites of foreign operators to play. Perhaps, soon authorities will reconsider their views on the online gambling market and will start issuing licenses.

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