Gambling business in Slovakia is allowed and organized at a fairly high level. Almost all forms of gambling have been legalized in the country since 1992. All land-based and online casinos are controlled by the Financial Office (Ministry of Finance of the Slovenian Republic), which maintains a clear list of all gambling establishments and the implementation of the issuance of licenses. All operators are subject to a mandatory income tax of 19% on gambling profits. All legal framework for regulation and control of the gambling business is set out in the Law on Gambling (No. 171/2005).
There are currently four main operators in Slovakia:
- Slovakia casinos;
- CBG (Casino Admiral);
- Banco Casino;
- Olympic Casino Slovakia.
Also, lotteries operate on the territory of the state, bookmakers operate. Slot machines can be found here almost everywhere: in pubs, cafes, bars, shops. There is no talk of monopolization of the gambling business in Slovakia.
As for online gambling, it is formally legal. Virtual gambling establishments are also controlled by the Ministry of Finance.
Laws regulating gambling business in Slovakia
The gambling business in Slovakia is regulated by the Law on Gambling (No. 171/2005). According to this law, the following types of gambling are allowed in the country:
- casino games;
- making bets;
- slot machines;
- video terminals for lotteries;
- online gambling;
- casino card games;
- charity lotteries.
The main purpose of the current legislation is to establish clear rules and regulations describing the rights and obligations of operators of gambling entertainment and the players themselves. The Law on Gambling (No. 171/2005) regulates:
- conditions for carrying out gambling entertainment, their promotion, and also establishes the rights and obligations of operators and players;
- conditions for the use of technical equipment intended for gambling entertainment;
- some conditions for the operation of the National Lottery Company;
- the competence of public authorities and municipalities;
- state supervision over the organization and conduct of gambling, as well as their promotion.
According to the legislation of Slovakia, only persons who have reached the age of eighteen are eligible to participate in gambling. Operators, in turn, are obliged to take all necessary measures to comply with the age limit (for example, request identification documents). The law also establishes the maximum deposit amount on slot machines – 1,000 SKK (10 EUR).
Since January 2017, amendments to the Law on Gambling have been in effect, signed by the President of the country, Andrei Kiska. According to the new legislation, the country will keep registers of people diagnosed with gambling addiction, as well as people who receive social assistance from the state. The purpose of the registries is to prevent such citizens from playing in casinos and other gambling establishments.
Another important change made it possible to ban gambling in certain cities and villages, if 30% of the population voted for it (for large cities the threshold was lowered to 15%). Also, the updated legislation expanded the powers of financial regulators of the gambling industry and attracted customs authorities to supervise.
Gambling industry regulators
The regulatory body responsible for the control, licensing and taxation of the gambling business is the Ministry of Finance. Members of the Ministry of Finance have the authority to approve legislative changes and introduce new gambling laws.
Also, gambling regulators include:
- the Financial Directorate of the Slovak Republic (Finančné Riaditeľstvo slovenskej Republiky) operates an information system operator in the field of gambling services, and also maintains a centralized register of operators and gambling houses, and transmits this data to the Ministry within three days from the receipt of the Ministry’s request;
- tax inspectorate – administers fees paid to the state budget, as well as decides on the payment of financial guarantees for applicants and operators. Also, the tax office has the right to apply penalties in accordance with the current gambling law;
- customs authorities – supervise compliance with the provisions of the Law on Gambling and other generally accepted legal norms and conditions for conducting transactions related to gambling.
Conditions for obtaining a license in a gambling jurisdiction
There are two types of licenses in Slovakia: general and individual. Individual licenses include licenses for the following activities:
- casino entertainment;
- online casino games;
- slot machines;
- lottery video terminals;
- state lottery;
- charity lottery.
Licenses can be issued only to a legal entity registered in the territory of the state. To obtain a license, you must submit an appropriate application. Moreover, the registered capital of the applicant must not be less than:
- 331.9 EUR – for cash and instant lotteries;
- 66.3 EUR – for playing bingo;
- 66.3 EUR – for slot machines;
- 331.9 EUR – for placing bets;
- 331.9 EUR – for gambling, which is controlled with the help of technical equipment working directly with the help of telecommunication equipment, and for the operation of video lottery terminals;
- 1 659.6 EUR – for casino gambling.
An application for a license must contain:
- the name of the company and its legal address;
- an identification number, if already assigned to the applicant;
- the amount of the authorized capital;
- a list of partners or shareholders, possibly recipients, which should include all information about the shareholders and partners of the company;
- information on the voting rights of a shareholder or partner who has more than 10% of the voting rights in another company, including companies located outside the territory of the Slovak Republic;
- names, surnames and dates of birth of members of the Board of Directors, Supervisory Board, executives, as well as an individual who will be responsible for the operation;
- territorial scope and location of the operation;
- descriptions of the technological equipment used during the operation of the video lottery and telecommunication equipment for conducting gambling;
- description of other equipment and systems;
- the estimated start date of the game and its timing.
Also, the applicant must prove the legal origin of the authorized capital and financial resources that represent financial guarantees. The claimant must attach the following documents to the application for an individual license:
- extract from the trade register (not older than three months from the date of application);
- the draft of the organizational structure of the applicant;
- business project and financial plan for the operation;
- a written statement from partners or shareholders that their property has not been declared bankrupt;
- documents confirming the good faith 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 placed in the gambling venue);
- declaration of the applicant for taking measures to prevent persons under 18 years of age;
- a document confirming the payment of the administrative fee in accordance with special regulations;
- confirmation of the tax authority on the payment of the entire amount of the financial guarantee;
- documents on the technical assessment of equipment and systems;
- confirmation from the tax authority that the applicant has no tax arrears.
Validity periods of individual licenses:
- two years for instant lotteries;
- five years for a bet;
- five years for bingo;
- one calendar year – for slot machines;
- two years – for gambling, which is controlled with the help of technical equipment and for the operation of video lottery terminals;
- five years – for the state lottery;
- two years for casino games;
- five years for a charity lottery.
Online gambling in Slovakia
Online gambling in Slovakia is legal. However, it works under the control of authorized state bodies – the Ministry of Finance. To run a website that provides online gambling, the entity must obtain an appropriate license.
In accordance with the law, licenses are only issued to companies operating in the country. Their servers must also be located in Slovakia. The only legal online casino is TIPOS Casino. This operator offers:
- online lotteries;
- casino games;
There are also several legal sports betting sites (ifortuna.sk, for example) and the only online bingo platform (eBingo). In 2016, the government announced that all unlicensed online casinos and betting sites would be blocked. However, it is known that the government has not yet granted any official licenses for local companies to open online casinos.
As for foreign online casinos, they are not welcome here and are quite often blocked by providers on the orders of government 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 sites of foreign operators. The current legislation does not provide for any provisions restricting players’ access to such Internet sites.
Currently, Slovak players are ready to accept 183 online casinos that offer gambling in Slovak and English. These sites accept bets both in the national currency of Slovakia – euros, and in US dollars.
Popular slots in Slovakia
- Mega Moolah from Microgaming;
- Book of Ra by Greentube
- Starburst from NetEnt;
- Mega Joker from NetEnt;
- Sizzling Hot Deluxe by Greentube.
Slovak developers of gambling software
Only two Slovak gambling software developers are known: Evona Electronic Ltd. and XproGaming.
Evona Electronic Ltd. – specializes in electronic products for the gambling industry. The company has been on the market since 1992, and over time, it has become one of the largest and most significant among other gambling manufacturers. Numerous branches and commercial representations of the company are based not only on the territory of Slovakia, but all over the world.
The range of Evona Electronic Ltd. present:
- high quality multiuser electronic roulettes;
- various slot machines;
- terminals for sports bets.
The company offers innovative and highly efficient casino management systems, as well as gambling furniture, promotional materials and much more. Thus, Evona Electronic Ltd., provides operators with a one-stop shop for servicing their premises (from the smallest clubs to game rooms in the largest casinos);
XproGaming is a popular provider of quality live dealer gambling. The company has been operating on the market since 2005, and today it provides a fairly wide range of services. Its live games catalog contains many popular gambling entertainments, including:
- black Jack;
- roulette (European and “dragon”);
- baccarat of three types;
- Texas Hold’em;
- Caribbean poker;
- sik bo (classic Asian dice game).
The company also specializes in the production of mobile live games. These apps are optimized for almost all types of smartphones and tablets.
XproGaming uses the latest technology developments to create its software. Apps don’t need to be downloaded. The company offers ready-made solutions for online casino operators: it develops a website (in accordance with customer requirements), connects it to the Live stream, sets up a back office and a payment gateway.
Prospects for the development of gambling business in Slovakia
Slovakia is distinguished by a rather liberal, and at the same time effective, policy in relation to gambling. Since many residents are interested in them, the authorities decided not to prohibit them, but rather to develop them. This should, according to their forecasts, prevent the emergence of illegal gambling establishments. Therefore, the government legalized everything, even the smallest gambling clubs in the country, which were previously in the shadows. Thus, this industry began to bring good revenues to the state budget due to tax deductions (19% of income from each institution).
In 2016, the majority of 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 prohibition. At the moment, the authorities are more focused on combating unlicensed online casinos, as well as combating gambling addiction.