Regulatory Overview: iGaming and the Balkans

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The Balkans have been a hotbed of iGaming regulatory activity in recent years. With SiGMA CIS & Balkans on the horizon, it might be appropriate to go through the current state of these regulations first, opening a window into the possible future of the industry in this region as a whole.

Without further ado, here is SiGMA’s regulatory recap on iGaming in the Balkans.

Montenegro

The state first legalized physical gambling as a whole in 2006, with its digital counterpart entering the good graces of regulators in 2011, with these entities falling under the purview of a specialized regulatory body under the Ministry of Finance. himself. An online gambling license must first be acquired through a land-based betting organization with the particulars of its license depending on the type of game – lottery, betting, slots, etc. That being said, the explosive growth of the iGaming industry has meant that most land-based casinos have an online component.

This regulatory ease has catalyzed the ever-growing gambler market in the state with nearly 40% of Montenegrins gambling at least occasionally or engaging in sports betting. The most popular games seem to be European and American versions of roulette, baccarat, blackjack, poker and punto banco. In terms of sports betting, most Montenegrins seem to opt for football, water polo, volleyball, basketball and handball.

Croatia

Croatia opened the floodgates to all types of betting and betting in 2014. As in Montenegro and Bosnia, the online aspect was normally integrated into an existing land-based casino with a license issued by the municipal finance ministry. With internet betting gaining traction and possibly eventually eclipsing land-based casinos, the industry is seeing strong growth in the state.

The Croatian people are mainly in love with blackjack, roulette, baccarat and online games, continuing the Balkan tradition of sports betting on football and tennis. Interestingly, hybrid bets are more popular here than in the rest of the Balkans, so providers should act accordingly.

Serbia

With the entry into gambling legislation around 2006, plus a major update and more prolific guidelines in 2013, the state industry is jointly regulated by the Gaming Administration (GCA) and the Serbian Ministry of Finance and Economy. The latter is the official license provider.

The protocol is quite simple, with candidates needing an enlisted sum of €250,000, a bank store of €300,000 and a current store of €10,000. In terms of digital content, the cost of an online permit is around €2,500 per month.

While regular casinos are very popular, Serbs tend to lean more towards sports betting, with football and basketball being regional favourites.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Although not the largest state in the Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina has the highest number of gambling outlets per capita in Europe, with the state being a regional leader in terms of betting popularity. The industry in this country is divided into three distinct areas, each with its own guidelines and requirements.

With Republika Srpska being the main regulator, the region follows the rest of the Balkans when it comes to land-based casinos allowed to have an online component. That being said, the Brčko locale excludes online betting.

The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina are also extremely interested in sports betting, but tend to lean more towards micro-betting. Football tends to be the mainstay of the industry, with basketball, tennis, golf, rugby and Grand Prix also being strong sectors.

Around 70.5% of Bosnians have played at a club at least once in their life, 27% of those surveyed have played all the more regularly over a more exhausted period, and 10% play week after week.

Slovenia

The Slovenian nation is less passionate about the industry as a whole, at least compared to the rest of the region. Sports betting and lotteries are regulated, with digital casinos again attached to land-based operations. That being said, the state has seen an interest in updating its regulations beyond what was instituted in 2013 and 2016. The Slovenian Ministry of Finance is responsible for providing licenses.

Interest in online gambling legislation appears sporadically and the state remains of great interest to international operators due to the quality and quantity of internet gambling traffic. Slovenian players regularly bet on football, hockey and online games.

North Macedonia

North Macedonia opened up the gambling market in 2011. That said, the industry as a whole operates under a state monopoly, with the Macedonian National Video Lottery holding a majority stake.

With a vibrant customer base and developing economy, the iGaming ecosystem in the region has grown steadily with some of the most well-known games such as age of the gods, Jungle Trouble, star burst, Dual spin, Gonzo’s Quest and more popular among the Macedonian public. Turned towards digital, the industry seems to be gaining ground in the region.

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