Most people know well that the Republic of Slovenia was a state of the former Yugoslavia and became independent in 1991. The country has an area of around 20 thousand square kilometers and a population of around 2 million. It’s a member of the European Union, NATO, and the United Nations. Its capital, Ljubljana, is a well-known tourists’ destination. However, what do you know about the Slovenia online casino sites? How does online gambling is regulated in Slovenia? Is it possible for foreign operators to apply for the Slovenian gambling license in 2019? That’s what you are going to find out in this article.
Development of the Gambling Industry in Slovenia
The Slovenian gambling industry has come a pretty long way and is still yet to be developed. Until 1991, all the gambling operations were prohibited in Slovenia. Though the situation changed when Slovenia got independent from Yugoslavia, gambling remained unregulated for a couple of years.
In 1995, the Gambling Act, which was created to regulate the brick-and-mortar casinos and all the gambling forms offered there, was adopted. This document helped to develop not only the gaming industry but tourism as well. Slovenia became an attractive state for many foreigners that wanted to test their luck in one of the fashionable and elite gambling houses. Nowadays, there are over a dozen brick-and-mortar casinos in Slovenia, which is more than enough considering the country’s size.
What about online gambling? The 1995 Gambling Act didn’t include any word about online gambling operators. That’s why online casinos remained neither legal nor illegal for many years. The very first attempt to take online gambling under control was made in 2013 when the new Gambling Act was introduced. However, something went wrong, and the government of the country refused to start issuing the licenses to the online casino operators. According to the current Slovenian gambling laws, online sports betting is the sole responsibility of the state-run monopolist Sportna Loterija while the lottery operations are the responsibility of Loterija Slovenije.
Fumbling Attempts Towards Online Gambling Liberalization
A chance to put an end to the sports betting monopoly appeared again in 2017. The amendments to the Gambling Act were pushed by Branko Zorman, a member of the SMC party. According to the new bill, Slovenia would have opened its borders to the foreign casino operators and started issuing the licenses. More than that, the online casino operators would have been paying an annual licensing see of $500,000. The main reason why Branko Zorman was strongly insisting on the adoption of the new bill was an opportunity to fund the country’s budget with the financial resources that were leaving the country due to the unregulated gaming websites.
The point is, many foreign online casinos can be easily accessed by Slovenians even despite the monopoly power of the National Lottery. From the legal standpoint, the latter is the only authority that is allowed to provide gambling service online and even to restrict other websites from entering the Slovenian gambling arena. From a practical perspective, however, it is impossible to prohibit online casino operators from accepting players from a certain country.
The only theoretical way to do it is to limit access to the Internet or block the selected websites. This is exactly was done by the Slovenian government several years ago, when they blocked several foreign gambling websites. However, even this method is not really effective since the websites can simply change their domain and become available to all players again.
Anyway, let’s get back to the bill introduced by Branko Zorman. At first, the National Assembly voted 35 in favor and 26 against, which was enough to adopt it and start implementing the changes. However, several months later, the bill was rejected by the Senate, and the Assembly sent it to the re-vote. The second voting round put an end to the new bill. The main reason for voting against was the risk of loss of the funding of different government programs by Sportna Loterija and the inconsistency between the EU laws and the offered gambling laws. At the same time, the EU doesn’t really care about how the European countries regulate online gambling.
Slovakia’s Breakthrough in the Online Gambling Liberalization
2019 is a turning point for the Slovak online gambling industry. Despite the fact that the country’s new Gambling Act was vetoed by the President, it was successfully adopted thanks to well-coordinated work of the members of the Slovak National Council. Slovakia has opened its borders to online casino operators. The changes came into force on March 1. It’s a shining example of how the government is ready to boost the economy with the help of the gambling industry.