Gambling business in Kosovo is allowed. The size of the legal gambling market is measured by the amount of taxes collected. For example, in the first half of 2016, the Kosovo customs collected more than EUR 1 million. This is 24% more than in the same period in 2015.
The volume of the illegal market is estimated at about EUR 100 million. There is an opinion that the main gambling business in Kosovo is used for money laundering.
Basic Law – Law No. 04 / L-080 On Games of Chance, published 2012.
Gambling legislation in Kosovo emerged relatively recently. For example, the main law was issued in 2012, and the gambling regulator was formed in 2000. The effectiveness of the legislation raises questions: there is a large illegal market in the country, and online gambling is prohibited.
The Tax Administration of Kosovo (TAK) is the regulator of the gambling business in this country. The service was organized in 2000. Her task is to collect taxes and monitor compliance with the law. She is also involved in the gambling business in Kosovo.
SO regulates the organization and conduct of gambling in the country.
It is forbidden to play by minors (under 18 years of age) – by themselves or through third parties. In addition, it is prohibited to share gambling winnings with them.
Conditions for obtaining a license
TAK issues the following types of licenses:
- casino – for 3 years with the possibility of renewal;
- for the production and distribution of slot machines – for 2 years with an extension;
- for the actual maintenance of slot machines – also for 2 years;
- for the provision of sites for retail outlets of slot machines – for 2 years;
- for organizing sports betting outlets – 2 years;
- organization of bingo tombball – 2 years.
The casino license cannot be transferred to third parties. It is issued to individuals and legal entities dealing with any issues in the casino business.
The production and distribution license is given to persons who import, manufacture and distribute slot machines in the territory of Kosovo.
Permission to operate slot machines is issued to persons who place and use slot machines at special sites. Slots should only be purchased from licensed manufacturers and distributors.
A retail outlet license gives the right to provide only slot machines on the site, and no other games. The licensed person must retain exclusive ownership of the slot site. The number of slot machines must be at least 10 pieces. Each slot machine must have its own inventory number.
A sports betting license only entitles you to the provision of sports betting services. Likewise – a tombola bingo license.
A person, both natural and legal, can acquire several licenses for one playground.
Requirements for obtaining a license
The Kosovo law prescribes the following conditions for operators:
- the operator must not be convicted in Kosovo or any other country;
- he does not engage in any illegal activity while gambling;
- the operator does not pose a threat to the interests of the Republic of Kosovo;
- he has experience in running a gambling business or business in general;
- he finances his business from legal sources.
Employees of any law enforcement agencies, judges and government officials cannot obtain a license.
The license application must contain evidence of the operator’s reliability: he must have insurance and initial capital from legal sources. The operator also provides a business plan, information about the playground and its organization, the internal rules of the casino, as well as the rules for all games offered.
The casino must be located in a separate building or in a hotel with at least 4 stars. The area of the establishment is at least 500 square meters, including the hotel and other premises. The operator must be the owner or co-owner of the premises or sign a contract for the premises specifically for the provision of gambling.
The casino must have at least three gaming tables, a cash desk, an exchanger. It is also necessary to provide video surveillance. The casino should be located more than 1.5 km away from educational and religious institutions, as well as places of historical and municipal importance.
Licensed varieties of gambling
The following types of gambling are permitted in Kosovo:
- sports betting;
- slot machines;
- bingo tombola.
Kosovo law prohibits a whole list of games:
- electronic games;
- Online Games;
- horse racing;
- games built on the principle of geometric progression.
Entertainment such as games in a calculator, simulator, other automatic devices, as well as games activated by tokens (and where the player receives a non-cash prize) are not considered gambling.
Also, entertainment with rewards arranged for promotion and promotions (such as promo lotteries) does not fall under the definition of gambling. Prizes must not exceed 1,000 currency units.
Lottery in Kosovo
The lottery in Kosovo is a state monopoly. All lottery games are organized by Lottery of Kosovo. The board of directors of this organization consists of 5 people. Their term of office is 2 years.
The council cannot include high government officials, members of political parties in high positions, as well as relatives of major managers of the Lottery of Kosovo.
The Board of Directors performs the following functions:
- analyzes and approves the annual plan;
- analyzes reports for the past year;
- resolves issues on the issue of tickets;
- approves the rules of the games;
- presents gaming initiatives to the Ministry of Finance.
The Kosovo Lottery is subordinate to the Ministry of Finance and can organize games in cooperation with operators from other countries.
The slot machines must be certified and sourced from licensed vendors. The certificate is issued only if the slot meets all legal requirements. Certification is carried out by an independent laboratory. The certificate is valid for 2 years.
The operator must place the rules of each game where the player can see them. The rules are approved SO and should include:
- information about the operator;
- information and instructions for the game;
- the methods according to which the winnings in each game are calculated;
- information about winning tickets or any other similar instrument, about the period and procedure for payment.
A casino is defined as a venue for board games and other games played with balls, dice or cards. This includes roulette, boules, shemin de fer, blackjack and other games.
The starting capital of a casino operator must be at least 2,000,000 EUR. The insurance should be of the same size. Insurance is required to ensure that all winnings are paid to players.
Online gambling in the country
Online games are prohibited in Kosovo. However, a small country does not have the resources to enforce this law. Residents of Kosovo play on any international site. There is no news yet that the authorities are going to resolve the issue of online gambling legislation.
Top online casinos
Top online casinos accepting players from Kosovo:
- Betway Casino;
- Super Lenny.
International casinos offer a user-friendly service and interface in the native language of the people of Kosovo.
Popular slot machines in the country
Here is a list of the most popular slot machines among the residents of Kosovo:
- Joker Spin;
- Continent Africa;
- Wild Wild West;
- Book of Ra;
- Divine Fortune.
Joker Spin is a 5-reel, 20-payline slot machine from BF Games. The slot has a risk game and free spins.
Continent Africa is a slot from BF Games with 5 reels and 20 pay lines, free spins, risk game.
Wild Wild West is a slot machine from NetEnt with 5 reels and 10 paylines. The device has a chance to get free spins, as well as activate 4 types of “wild” symbols. The bonus round increases the prize up to 50 times.
Book of Ra Deluxe is a 5 reel 10 payline slot from Greentube. There is a risk game and a round with free spins on the machine.
Divine Fortune is a 5-reel, 20-payline slot machine from NetEnt. There is a chance to get free spins and respins. The bonus game awards a large win with a multiplier of up to x200.
So far, the situation in Kosovo remains tense, including with the gambling business. SO constantly closes illegal points, reporting monthly on its website. For example, 22 establishments were closed in January 2017. There is no news that the authorities are planning to change the gambling legislation.
The gambling business in Kosovo is almost entirely in the gray zone or completely illegal. The existing laws do not meet modern requirements. Online gambling is still banned and poker is not available in licensed establishments.
Thus, in order for the country to start receiving decent profits from gambling, the state should change the legislation.