Croatia is a state in the south of central Europe where most types of gambling are allowed. In 2014, the authorities of the republic passed a law, thanks to which the operation of land-based gambling establishments and online casinos was allowed on Croatian territory. Now there are more than 10 casinos operating in the country, as well as bookmakers and bingo halls.
As for online gambling, players have access to both local sites and resources of foreign operators. Due to the fact that revenues from tourism make up an impressive part of the budget of Croatia, the authorities pay special attention to the development of the entertainment industry. Thanks to this, the country provides support for operators of gambling, and restrictions on admission to this kind of entertainment apply only to minors.
Croatian gambling laws
Gambling in Croatia is regulated by the Law on Gambling (Zakon o igrama na sreću), passed in 2014. This regulation divides the games allowed in the country into 4 categories:
- lotteries and bingo;
- casino games;
- sports betting;
- slot machines.
Gambling regulation in Croatia
The gambling business in Croatia is regulated by the Ministry of Finance. The gambling operator has the opportunity to obtain a license to operate after the approval of the application and winning the tender. This takes into account how high profit the enterprise can bring to the state budget. If the government decides in favor of the operator, he can obtain the appropriate permit within 60 days.
Licensing terms and rules
To participate in the tender, the company must provide the following information:
- company details: headquarters addresses, list of owners, copies of IDs;
- documents confirming the availability of a sufficient amount of start-up capital and reliable information about the origin of these funds;
- certificates of no criminal record of authorized persons.
If we are talking about a foreign operator, he is obliged to provide documents confirming the absence of tax arrears in the country of registration. The company may lose its license in the event of bankruptcy or failure to fulfill the conditions specified when concluding an agreement with the Croatian authorities. The permit is issued for a period of 15 years.
Operators are required to pay an annual fee for the right to organize gambling in the amount of HRK 500,000 for land-based establishments and HRK 3,000,000 for online casinos. The following factors may serve as a reason for early termination of the contract:
- providing false information when submitting an application;
- violation by the operator of the provisions of the contract;
- failure to comply with technical requirements;
- commencement of activity before the dates set by the Ministry of Finance;
- no signs of the company’s work on the set dates;
- lack of a bank guarantee in the proper amount;
- changing the structure of the company without permission from the Ministry of Finance.
At the end of each year, the company must submit a business plan for the next year. No later than the 20th day of each month, the operator must submit a report on the work for the month. The minimum authorized capital is 4,000,000 HRK. The minimum bank guarantee is 1,500,000 HRK for land-based casinos and 3,000,000 HRK for online casinos.
The following types of gambling are subject to licensing:
- casino card and table games;
- slot machines;
- sports betting.
Terrestrial establishments are obliged to ensure control over the persons visiting them. Access is only possible upon presentation of an identity card. Uniformed persons may visit the casino solely for the performance of their official duties. The administration has the right not to admit visitors if doubts arise about the honesty of their game. In addition, the restrictions apply when there is reason to believe that gambling causes systematic significant financial damage to the player. Casino employees must have a permit confirming their professional qualifications.
Along with casinos in Croatia, separate halls with slot machines are allowed. The company that deals with this format of gambling business must ensure restrictions for underage players and not allow them to visit. Slot machines can be located in specially equipped rooms with a separate entrance or in an independent building. To obtain permission, the operator must have a registered capital of at least 2,000,000 HRK. The amount of the required bank guarantee depends on the number of slot machines:
- 31-60 devices – 500,000 HRK;
- 61-90 – 700,000 HRK;
- 91-120 – 900,000 HRK;
- 121-150 – 1,100,000 HRK;
- 151-180 – 1,300,000 HRK;
- 181-210 – 1,500,000 HRK;
- 211-250 – 2,000,000 HRK;
- more than 250 – 5,000,000 HRK.
The annual contribution is 10,000 HRK per machine. Monthly fee – 25% of profit.
Online gambling in Croatia
According to the 2010 Interactive Online Casino Ordinance, the implementation of services related to gambling is permitted in Croatia. All adult users can play on gambling sites. Internet games are also sold by the state operator Hrvatska Lutrija and its subsidiary Prva Sportska Kladionica. They cooperate with gambling software providers such as Intralot Interactive and Microgaming. There are no domestic well-known developers in Croatia.
The website of the international sports betting operator Bet365 is the most popular gambling resource among Croatian users. BetRadar is in second place. The third place is occupied by the Bet-At-Home resource.
Most Popular Slots in Croatia
According to the rating of the state operator Hrvatska Lutrija, the following slot machines are currently the most popular among 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;
- Joker 8,000.
Prospects for the development of gambling business in Croatia
The intensive development of gambling in Croatia began back in 1991, when the republic declared itself an independent state. Since the authorities initially began to position the state as attractive for tourists, much attention was paid to gambling houses operating at large hotels. Suffice it to recall the country’s largest casino at the Mulino Lux Casino Hotel, operating on the basis of a hotel complex in the resort town of Buy.
Currently, there is an increase in the interest of players in sports betting. There is no need to talk about a possible tightening of the legislation regulating the gambling industry in Croatia. Since, since 2013, the republic is a member of the European Union, it is subject to the requirements for ensuring free access to goods and services registered in the EU. Thus, Croatian gamblers are unlikely to face restrictions on playing in foreign online casinos.
So, Croatian gambling laws provide players with sufficient freedom of action. The regulation of the gambling business is based in such a way as to minimize the likelihood of harm from gambling addiction and maximally contribute to filling the state budget. Gamblers can choose games for every taste and not be afraid of restrictions from the authorities.