Gambling in Montenegro has been legal since the proclamation of the independence of the state, i.e. since 2006. At the same time, the Law on Gambling was adopted, allowing the operation of casinos and other gambling establishments. The gambling business is regulated by the Games of Chance Administration. All forms of gambling entertainment are available in the country – from lotteries to bookmakers and casinos.
Reasonable casino-oriented policy ensures a large flow of tourists to the country, as well as impressive contributions to the country’s budget. It is worth noting that the proceeds from the gambling industry go to numerous social programs. Thanks to its calm political and economic environment, Montenegro also attracts the attention of many foreign investors. Capital for the development of the gambling industry comes from all over the world, which allows local gambling establishments to compete with the best casinos in Europe.
Today the gambling business of Montenegro is one of the most successful and actively developing. The state occupies a leading position in terms of the level of casino development among all the countries of the Balkan Peninsula. There are several legal casinos and more than 500 gambling houses operating in the country, and their number is constantly growing. The largest casino – Maestral – is located in Sveti Stefan. It has 18 gaming tables, 133 slot machines and video poker. By the way, according to statistics, almost 40% of the country’s adult population regularly takes part in gambling.
As for online gambling, it has been legal here since 2011. The Gambling Administration has created favorable conditions (both legally and economically) for the successful development of this industry. A large number of foreign investors contribute to the development of the gambling business on the Internet. As a result, operators were able to open online casino sites in Montenegro.
Features of regulation of the gambling business in Montenegro
The organization of gambling and state control over its conduct on the territory of Montenegro is regulated by the Law on Gambling, adopted in 2006. This regulation divides gambling into two broad categories: lottery and specialty gambling. Lottery games include:
- TV lotto and closed lotto;
- sports predictions;
- additional games in lotto and sweepstakes;
- video lottery;
- other similar entertainment with practical jokes.
Specific gambling includes:
- casino games;
- betting games;
- slot machines.
The current legislation of the Republic of Montenegro performs the following functions:
- establishes the procedure for organizing and conducting gambling, and also determines the list of relevant restrictions and mandatory requirements for organizers, gambling establishments and their visitors;
- establishes the procedure for issuing permits to perform work related to the organization and conduct of gambling;
- detects, prohibits and suppresses the activities of operators that violate the law.
According to the law, the organization of gambling entertainment is carried out for the implementation of public interests. That is, the funds received from the gambling business are used to meet the needs in the field of social and humanitarian activities, program activities for young people and other purposes established by law. The state strictly controls the gambling industry and enforces the age limit (18 years).
From the point of view of legislation, the entities that control the gambling market should pay special attention to the mental health of the players. They also need to devote sufficient time to countering money laundering. This, in turn, should help reduce the risk of criminalization of the gambling business, protect players from deception, and eliminate the negative manifestations that accompany gambling.
Companies registered as legal entities have the right to engage in gambling business. They must obtain the appropriate registration by way of a concession. A concession means the transfer by the state of the right to use gambling equipment and conduct gambling to a limited liability joint-stock company located in Montenegro. In return, the state gives the joint stock company a remuneration in the form of one-time or periodic payments.
According to the legislation, the concession agreement must necessarily contain:
- the name and location of the joint stock company that operates the gambling;
- the place and address of the working premises intended for the organization of gambling;
- the type of gambling that can be organized;
- start date of their organization;
- the duration of the concession, as well as the conditions for its extension;
- the amount and procedure for paying the concession fee;
- the procedure for exercising supervision;
- provisions on other rights and obligations of the contracting parties.
Due to the concession mechanisms, the state organizes and conducts gambling through a certain number of controlled operators.
Gambling regulators and laws regulating the gambling industry in Montenegro
The entire gambling business in Montenegro is under state control. The main regulatory body is the Games of Chance Administration. All control functions are carried out by an authorized employee in strict accordance with the Gambling Law. His duties also include specific functions related to the control of the conduct of gambling. An authorized employee is obliged to be present at the opening, settlement and closing of tables and slot machines in casinos (gambling clubs with slot machines), as well as during the daily settlement of cash registers and other work related to the activities of gambling establishments.
Licensing in the gambling industry
Almost every entrepreneur who decides to start a gambling business (both offline and online) can obtain a license to provide gambling entertainment. Each type of gambling requires registration of a separate certificate. For example, a certificate for slot machines is issued for a period of 3 years with the possibility of renewal for another 2 years. After the expiration of the certificate, the documents are resubmitted and checked.
To obtain a license to operate a gambling business, you need to go through several preliminary stages:
- establish a limited liability company on the territory of the Republic of Montenegro. The organization must be registered in accordance with the rules that are dictated by law;
- prepare accounting accounts and open a bank account. You also need to obtain a bank guarantee to prove your solvency;
- develop a website and a system for processing payments – when it comes to online gambling;
- draw up and submit an application for registration of a new casino in the jurisdiction of the state.
After passing these stages, the operator needs to obtain permission from the government of Montenegro. The conditions for obtaining and validating a concession are as follows:
- it is necessary to have a capital in the bank of at least EUR 300 thousand – for casinos, or EUR 75 thousand – for gambling clubs;
- during the period of the concession and within 30 days after the expiration of its validity, have an account in the bank of Montenegro in the amount of 30% of the value of the company’s equity capital (or a bank guarantee in the amount of this amount);
- the casino cash desk must have at least EUR 50,000 for 5 tables every day, and EUR 20,000 for every next 5 tables (there can be no less than five tables in a casino);
- it is necessary to pay concession compensation to the state budget. From one casino or other gambling establishment, 50 thousand EUR is paid annually and 10% of the income of the establishment every month;
- casinos are not taxable.
E-Gambling Montenegro is the Montenegrin Gambling Commission that makes the decision to issue a license for online gambling. True, bad rumors are circulating around this organization. She is accused of issuing licenses to operators who were caught working with unlicensed software from NetEnt and Greentube. But nevertheless, it continues its activities, permitted by the government of Montenegro.
Licensed varieties of gambling
Among the licensed varieties of gambling in Montenegro:
- casino card and table games;
- slot machines;
- bookmaker rates;
- online casino games;
- other games with draws.
Online gambling in Montenegro
According to the current legislation of the Republic of Montenegro, there are no restrictions for carrying out gambling activities on the Internet. Montenegrin gamblers have access to numerous online casino sites founded by domestic or foreign operators. As a rule, Montenegrin online casinos are characterized by consistently high quality, fairness guarantee and the latest slot models. The servers hosting the casino software are inland.
To date, there are 191 online casinos with an interface in English or Montenegrin. In addition, they all accept payments in euros.
Popular slot machines in Montenegro
Montenegrin gamblers prefer slot machines, including progressive jackpots, video poker and other similar entertainment. The most popular are the following slot machines:
- Desert Treasure II from Playtech;
- Bonus Bears from Playtech;
- 4 Line Deuces Wild from Playtech;
- A night Out from Playtech;
- Queen of the Pyramids from Playtech;
- Pharao’s Riches from Bally Wulff;
- Aztec Secret by Amatic.
Prospects for the development of gambling business in Montenegro
Today the gambling business of Montenegro is actively developing thanks to foreign investments. Investors are attracted by the successful combination of resort recreation areas and fairly loyal laws regarding the launch of casinos. Foreign funding contributes to the faster and faster development of both land-based and online gambling in the country. In addition, the territory of the state is interesting for both investors and many tourists. Knowing this, local authorities are trying to support the country’s gambling establishments – their number has long exceeded the 500 mark.
The current situation makes it possible to predict that the country’s government will not resort to any radical changes in the legislation. After all, the management system of the gambling industry is so effective here that it is considered one of the best in the world. Land-based casinos, bookmakers, clubs with slot machines and lotteries annually bring more than 8.28 million EUR of net profit to the state treasury. Remarkably, all these funds are subsequently distributed to various social programs.