Gambling in Slovakia
Gambling in Slovakia is allowed and organised at a sufficiently senior level. Almost all forms of gambling have been legalised in the country since 1992. All land-based and online casinos are controlled by the Ministry of Finance (Ministerstvo financií Slovenskej republiky) which maintains a list of all gambling institutions and issues licenses. All operators pay a mandatory income tax of 19% of the profits received for providing gambling entertainment. All legal framework for regulation and control of gambling business is set out in the Law on gambling (№171/2005)). Currently, there are four main operators in Slovakia: Casinos Slovakia, CBG (Admiral Casino), Banco Casino and Olympic Casino Slovakia. Also, lotteries and bookmakers work on the territory of the state. Slot machines can be found almost everywhere: in pubs, cafes, bars and shops. The monopolization of gambling in Slovakia is out of the question. As for online gambling, it's formally legal. Gambling webites are also under the control of the Ministry of Finance. Gambling legislation and its development is discussed below.
Gambling Games in Slovakia
There are a number of games which are played more than other, including: Mega Moolah by Microgaming, Book of Ra by Novomatic, Starburst by NetEnt, Mega Joker by NetEnt and Sizzling Hot Deluxe by Novomatic.
Gambling business in Slovakia is regulated by the Law on gambling (№171/2005). According to this law, the following types of gambling are allowed in the country: Lotteries, Casino games, Betting, Slot machines, video terminals for lotteries, online gambling games, casino card games and charity lotteries. The main objective of the current legislation is to establish clear rules and regulations that describe the rights and obligations of gambling operators and players. The Law on gambling (№171 / 2005) regulates: Conditions for gambling, their promotion and establishes rights and duties of operators and players, Conditions for the use of technical equipment intended for gambling, Certain conditions of the National Lottery Company, Competence of public authorities and municipalities and State supervision of the organization and conduct of gambling, as well as its promotion. According to the legislation of Slovakia, only those who have reached the age of eighteen have the right to participate in gambling. Operators, in turn, are obliged to take all necessary measures to comply with the age qualification (for example, to request identity documents). The law also establishes the maximum amount of the deposit on slot machines - 1,000 Slovak korunas (10 EUR).
Since January 2017, there have been changes to the Law on Gambling signed by the President of the country Andrej Kiska. According to the new legislation, there will be registers of people with diagnosed gambling addiction, as well as persons who receive social assistance from the state. The purpose of registers is to prevent such citizens from playing in casinos and other gambling institutions. Another important change has made it possible to ban gambling in certain cities and villages if 30% of the population voted for it (for cities, the threshold is reduced to 15%). Also, the updated legislation expanded the powers of financial regulators of the gambling industry and involved custom authorities to the supervision.
Regulators of the gambling industry
The regulator which is responsible for controlling, licensing and taxing gambling business is the Ministry of Finance. Members of the Ministry of Finance have the authority to approve changes in legislation and to introduce new gambling laws. Also, the regulatory authorities in the field of gambling are: The Financial Directorate of the Slovak Republic (Finančné Riaditeľstvo slovenskej Republiky) operates as the information system operator in the field of gambling services and also maintains a centralised register of operators and casinos and transfers these data to the Ministry within three days after receiving the Ministry's request, Tax inspection - administers the fees paid to the state budget and also resolves matters about payment of financial guarantees for applicants and operators. Also, tax inspection has the right to impose fines under the current gambling law and Customs authorities - oversee compliance with the provisions of the Law on gambling and other generally accepted legal rules and conditions for conducting transactions related to gambling.
Slovakia has two types of licenses: general and individual. Individual includes licenses for such activities as: lottery, casino games, betting, online games in casinos, slot machines, lottery video terminals, state lottery and charity lottery. Licenses can only be issued to a legal entity registered in the territory of the state. To obtain a license, it is necessary to file an application. The registered capital of the applicant must not be less than:
- 331.9 EUR - for cash and instant lotteries
- 66.3 EUR - for bingo
- 66.3 EUR - for slot machines
- 331.9 EUR - for betting
- 331.9 EUR - for gambling games which are managed using technical equipment working directly with telecommunications equipment and for the operation of video lottery terminals
- 1,659.6 EUR - for casino gambling
The application for a license must contain:
- Name of the enterprise and its legal address
- Identification number if it has been already assigned to the applicant
- Amount of the authorised capital
- List of partners or shareholders, possibly recipients, which should include all data on shareholders and partners of the company
- Information on voting rights of a shareholder or partner who holds more than 10% of the voting rights in another company including companies located outside the territory of the Slovak Republic
- Names, last names and birthdates of members of the Board of Directors, Review Board, executive bodies, as well as the individual who will be responsible for conducting the operation
- Territorial scope and location of the operation
- Description of the technological equipment used during the operation of video lottery and telecommunications equipment for gambling
- Description of other equipment and systems
- The estimated date of the beginning of the game and its duration
Also, the applicant must prove the legal origin of the share capital and financial resources representing financial guarantees. The applicant must attach the following documents to the application for granting an individual license:
- A trade register statement (not older than three months from the date of application)
- A statute
- Project of the applicant's organisational structure
- Business project and financial plan for conducting the operation
- A written statement from partners or shareholders that their property is not declared bankrupt
- Documents confirming the integrity of the applicant and individuals responsible for the operation of gambling
- The game plan (in such a form that after its approval it can be implemented)
- Applicant's declaration to take measures to prevent from gambling people under the age of 18
- Document on payment of administrative fee in accordance with special regulations
- Confirmation of the tax authority on paying the full amount of the financial guarantee
- Documents on technical assessment of equipment and systems
- Confirmation of the tax authority that the applicant has no tax arrears
Validity of individual licenses:
- Two years - for instant lotteries
- Five years - for betting
- Five years - for bingo
- One calendar year - for slot machines
- Two years - for gambling games which are controlled using technical equipment and for the operation of video lottery terminals
- Five years - for state lottery
- Two years - for games in casinos
- Five years - for charity lottery
Online gambling in Slovakia
Online gambling in Slovakia is legal. However, it operates under the control of authorised state bodies - the Ministry of Finance. To run a website that provides online gambling, the subject must obtain the appropriate license. In accordance with the law, licenses are issued only to companies operating in the country. Their servers must also be located in the territory of Slovakia. The only legal online casino is TIPOS Casino. This operator offers: online lottery, Keno, Casino games and Poker. There are also several legal websites that host sports betting (ifortuna.sk, for example) and the only online bingo platform (eBingo). In 2016, the government announced that all unlicensed online casinos and bookmaking websites will be blocked. However, it is known that the government has not yet provided any official licenses for local companies to open an online casino. As for foreign online casinos, they are not welcome here and are often blocked by providers on orders of public services. It is very difficult for foreign companies to obtain a license but this does not prevent Slovak players from freely betting on sports and playing in virtual casinos on unlicensed foreign operators' websites. The current legislation does not provide for any provisions limiting the access of players to such Internet portals. Currently, 183 online casinos that offer gambling in Slovak and English are ready to accept Slovak players. These websites accept bets in both the national currency of Slovakia EURO and in US dollars.
Slovak gambling software developers
Only two Slovak developers of gambling software are known: Evona Electronic Ltd. and XproGaming. Evona Electronic Ltd. - specialises in electronic products for the gambling industry. The company has been operating in the market since 1992 and over time it has become one of the largest and most significant among gambling manufacturers. Numerous branches and commercial offices of the company are based not only on the territory of Slovakia but all over the world. The range of Evona Electronic Ltd. includes: High-quality multi-user electronic roulette games, a variety of slot machines, VLT and terminals for sports betting. The company offers innovative and highly effective casino management systems, as well as furniture for premises intended for gambling, promotional materials and much more. So, Evona Electronic Ltd. provides operators with a single store for servicing their premises (from the smallest clubs to the game rooms in the largest casinos) XproGaming - a supplier of quality gambling games with a live dealer. The company has been operating in the market since 2005 and today it provides a fairly wide range of services. Its catalogue of live games includes many gambling entertainments among which are: blackjack, roulette (European and "dragon"), baccarat of three kinds, Texas Hold'e, Caribbean Poker and Sic Bo (classic Asian dice game). The company also specialises in the production of mobile live games. Such applications are optimised for almost all types of smartphones and tablets. When creating its software XproGaming uses the latest developments in technology. Applications do not need to download. The company offers ready solutions for operators of online casinos: it develops a website (in accordance with the requirements of the customer), connects it to the Live stream, configures the back office and payment gateway.
Development of the Gambling Market in Slovakia
Slovakia is featured by a fairly liberal and at the same time effective policy in relation to gambling games. Since many residents are interested in them, the authorities decided not to ban them but to develop them. According to their forecasts, this should prevent the emergence of illegal gambling institutions. Therefore, the government legalised everything, even the smallest gambling clubs in the country, which had previously been illegal. So, this branch began to bring quite good incomes in the state budget through tax deductions (19% of income from each institution). In 2016, most citizens of the Slovak Republic voted for a complete ban on gambling on the territory of the state. However, so far no action has been taken to implement this ban. At the moment, the authorities are more focused on fighting unlicensed online casinos and problem gambling.