Macedonia is a relatively young state in southeastern Europe, where gambling is legalized and accessible to any adult. There are more than 5 land-based establishments in the country. Online casinos are also legal in accordance with Macedonian laws. Slots, sports betting and poker are especially popular in Macedonia. Macedonian law allows casinos, slot machine halls and bookmakers to operate. The activities of sites dedicated to gambling are not yet regulated, but the authorities are dealing with this issue.
Gambling legislation of Macedonia
Currently, gambling in Macedonia is regulated by the Law on Gambling (Zakon za igrite na sreḱa i za zabavnite igri), which came into force in 2011. According to its provisions, the following types of gambling are allowed and subject to licensing in the country:
- sports predictions;
- casino games;
- slot machines;
- instant lottery.
To obtain a license, you must obtain permission from the Government of Macedonia (Vladata na Republika Makedonija) and the Ministry of Finance of Macedonia (Ministerstvoto za finansii). The licensing process can take up to 9 months. The licensee must have an authorized capital of at least 2,500,000 EUR or the equivalent in national currency. In addition, the company is obliged to provide a bank guarantee in the amount of EUR 300,000 at the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia (Narodnata banka na Republika Makedonija).
The room in which the games are held must be equipped appropriately and have a separate entrance. Casinos cannot be located near educational institutions. If a gambling establishment opens at a hotel complex, then it must be a tourist infrastructure facility of at least four stars. The administration of the gambling house is obliged to restrict access to minors.
In Macedonia, it is possible to open separate halls for slot machines. To obtain a license for this type of activity, a player must have a statutory fund of at least 450,000 EUR. The area of the room must be at least 200 square meters. Compliance with gambling legislation in Macedonia is monitored by the Ministry of the Interior (Ministerstvoto za vnatreni raboti), the State Revenue Office (Upravata za javni prihodi) and the Ministry of Finance.
Online casinos in Macedonia
At the moment, regulations governing online gambling in Macedonia are under development. It is planned to create a monopoly in this segment. In accordance with the draft law currently being considered by the authorities, the state must own a share of at least 51% in companies that operate online casinos. It is expected that a special state-owned enterprise will be created to specialize in this area.
Now part of the gambling sites is being blocked in the Macedonian segment of the Internet. As in other countries, this is not a significant deterrent for players, especially since there is no responsibility for the use of online casino services for Macedonian users.
Popular online casinos and games in Macedonia
Among the online casinos that are especially popular with Macedonian gamblers are the following resources:
- Vera & John;
As for bookmakers, Macedonian users prefer to place their bets on the sites: Bet365, NetBet and BetSupremacy. According to statistics, approximately 72% of the adult male population under 25 in Macedonia regularly bet on sports. Over 70 bookmakers are licensed in the country.
Most popular slot machines
In casinos with the highest traffic among Macedonian players, the following developments are most popular:
- Jackpot Giant;
- Age of the Gods;
- Jungle Trouble;
- Twin Spin;
- Gonzo’s Quest;
- Aloha Cluster Pays.
Macedonia does not have its own gambling software developers. Representative offices of such companies as Spielo, eGaming and others are located in the country. According to the ratings of online casinos, the products of Playtech and NetEnt are popular among players from Macedonia.
Prospects for the development of the gambling business in Macedonia
Tourism is one of the key sectors of the Macedonian economy. A number of popular ski and balneological resorts are located on the territory of the republic. The presence of land-based gambling establishments is considered a powerful factor in attracting tourists, which makes it possible to predict the further development of this segment. At the moment, there are no signs that the authorities will come to a decision to ban or restrict access to gambling.
Apparently, online casinos will remain the mainstream entertainment. Since 2005, the country has been a candidate for accession to the European Union, where the attitude to virtual gambling is very loyal. This makes it possible to predict that, in order to adapt to EU legislation, Macedonia will avoid tightening control over online casinos. Probably, the licensing procedure for foreign operators will not be the easiest due to the introduction of a state monopoly, but this feature is unlikely to affect ordinary players. In addition, if Macedonia joins the European Union, then the existence of a state monopoly on online gambling would be contrary to the requirements of the EU Commission.
Gambling in Macedonia is a popular and affordable entertainment. Players are given the opportunity to choose from an impressive number of land-based establishments. The gambling business is under development, and soon nor can it demonstrate intense growth.