Slovakia Moves to Modernize its Gaming SystemPublished January 1, 2019 by Lee R
Slovakia is ready to join the iGaming revolution with both feet first.
With regulators scrapping the local monopoly, Slovakia may be experiencing disruptive change for the better.
The shakeup was announced by the Slovakian parliament on the heels of the original approval of new gambling regulations announced by the Ministry of Finance last spring.
The last bureaucratic hurdle standing remaining before international operators can apply for local gaming licensing is the Slovakia’s president signing of the new measures into law, a move which now is expected to be a mere formality.
Online casino applications are expected to begin being accepted March 1, 2019, with the first approvals due July 1, 2019. Online sports betting license applications will be accepted as of July 1, 2019, with the licenses taking effect after July 1, 2020.
The fee for online sports betting and casino licenses will cost operators €3m apiece, with a discount available to operators interested in offering both products of €1m.
The duration of the licenses is set for 10 years, with operators seeking to offer both online and land-based betting to be given 5-year licenses with an option to extend for an additional 5-year term at the operator’s discretion.
Operators seeking an online presence will be required to establish a relationship with the government as a local liaison, and governments will not accept license the applications of operators whose domains or domains of any of their affiliated companies have appeared on Slovakia's online gambling blacklist in the 12 months preceding the filing.
Taxes will include a 22% levy on online gambling revenue, with state-owned TIPOS retaining its online monopoly over lotteries, bingo and raffles, but the market will be opened to private operators for competition in the other verticals of the online market.
New Office Oversight
The governing body includes a new Office for Regulation of Gambling which will assume the oversight duties currently in the domain of the Ministry of Finance.
The new department will have an annual budget of €6m that is scheduled to be funded by an additional 0.7% tax on gross gaming revenue.
The new changes indicate a strongly proactive reforming of the existing system to indicate that Slovakia will join the ranks of progressive gaming models adapting to the online opportunity.