iGaming Review of the Balkans for Next YearPublished June 5, 2022 by Brett C
Slotegrator's iGaming forecast for the Balkan markets has just been released. In former Yugoslavia, gambling was a state-run monopoly, but much has changed. Today, we consider other Balkan markets, including North Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Serbia.
In 2011, the authorities legalized gambling in North Macedonia. However, the industry is run as a state monopoly, and local authorities have a controlling interest in the National Video Lottery of Macedonia. The first and only licensee was issued in 2014. Player preferences include Starburst, Age of The Gods, Jackpot Giant, Aloha Cluster Pays, Gonzo's Quest, et cetera.
The government approved land-based gambling in Montenegro in 2006. Online gambling was approved in 2011. All gambling regulation falls under the purview of the Administration for Games of Chance, under the direct control of the Ministry of Finance. Only land-based casinos are allowed to operate online casinos. Betting options include slot machines, lotteries, casino games, sports betting, et cetera. Virtual gaming sites are readily available and typically feature more games than bricks and mortar establishments.
Online casino developers use innovative products such as APIgrator from Slotegrator to integrate some 7000 casino games from over 100 licensed software providers into a gambling site via a quick click. Montenegro's active gaming audience enjoys sports betting and casino games, with 40% of legal age players periodically playing. Games of choice include Baccarat, American Roulette, Punto Banco, Blackjack, and Poker. Sports betting is also a hot market, with top sports including basketball, handball, water polo, volleyball, and football.
In Slovenia, lotteries and sports betting are controlled by a monopoly. Only operators currently operating land-based enclaves can manage online casinos. From 2013 to 2016, Slovenia attempted to liberalize gambling laws. All licence issuing is conducted through the Ministry of Finance. News updates are irregular in Slovenia, alluding to a conservative approach to legalizing online gambling activity.
The most recent news coming out of Slovenia focused on several deputies wanting to enhance legislation to create a regulated market. This would allow players to start using regulated operators and not the services of those who run unlicensed operations. Slovenian gambling is attractive, with lots of interest from players. There are no entry barriers to admission, and 80% of the population uses the Internet. The online gaming sector is rapidly evolving, and residents are willing to bet on virtual sports, hockey, football, and online casino games
In Croatia, massive regulation of gambling activity was the order of the day in 2014. A local licence is required through the Ministry of Finance to open an online casino. Plus, a land-based casino must operate an online casino, much like Montenegro. In Croatia, gambling licences come with a 15-year validity period, operators must pay annual fees of $431,640, or 3 million HRK. In addition, 4 extra million HRK is required ($575,514) in registered capital for that period in question.
Foreign-based operators without a Croatian licence cannot offer gambling games to locals. However, with 82% Internet penetration in the country and 106.6 mobile subscriptions for every 100 people, there is a large and growing telecommunications infrastructure for developing online gaming activity in Croatia. For their part, Croatians enjoy various forms of sports betting, including tennis, football, and basketball, but they also like online slots, roulette, blackjack, and baccarat.
Mobile gaming is incredibly popular in Croatia than in other Balkan countries.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is a beacon to all of Europe, with the most significant number of betting shops per person. There is a high level of gambling participation in the country, with three regions, each with its own rules, regulations, and requirements. These include Republika Srpska, with 5-new licences being issued. Online casino licenses cost 100,000 KM, approximately $55,709. Bricks and mortar licences in the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina can operate online casino games. However, gambling is prohibited in a specific district known as Brčko.
People in the country love sports betting, but they like smaller bets. The most popular sports betting attraction is football; others include Grand Prix, golf, rugby, tennis, and basketball. An astounding 70.5% of people in Bosnia-Herzegovina have played in a casino at least once. Moreover, 27% of them attest to playing more frequently over an extended period. Some 10% of Bosniaks play weekly.
In 2006, Serbia legalized gambling. However, the regulation only kicked in in 2013. All gambling activities are undertaken by the Games of Chance Administration (GCA) under the Serbian Ministry of Finance and economy. The licensing process is relatively straightforward, with capital requirements of €250,000, a €300,000 bank deposit, and a daily deposit of €10,000. The license cost for online casinos is €2500 per month. As far as investments, Serbia is in talks to launch a betting platform. Since Serbs prefer sports betting, there is always a high participation rate in sports. The two most popular sports in the country are basketball and football.