Next year forecast for Balkan igaming markets

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Gambling used to be run as a state monopoly in the former Yugoslavia, but obviously a lot has changed since then

Here we will look at online gambling regulations and trends in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and North Macedonia.

Serbia

Gambling has been legal in Serbia since 2006, and full regulation appeared in 2013. The company is controlled by the Gaming Administration (GCA) and a department of the Serbian Ministry of Finance and Economy, which issues licenses.

The licensing process is simple – applicants need a share capital of €250,000, a bank deposit of €300,000 and a daily deposit of €10,000. The cost of a license for an online casino is €2,500 per month.

From the perspective of investment attractiveness, potential investors in Serbia should consider launching a betting platform. Casino games are popular, but Serbs prefer sports betting. The love of sport is rooted in their culture – Serbs are very active, with a high rate of sports participation. They also follow sports closely and, as usual, bet on them. Football and basketball are the most popular sports to bet on in Serbia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina has the highest number of betting shops per person in Europe, which is not surprising given the high rate of participation in gambling. The country is divided into three regions, each with its own regulations and requirements.

Republika Srpska issues licenses for five years and has standard license requirements: the company must be registered in the country, have a deposit that will cover players’ winnings and prove the integrity of the founders. The price for an online casino license is 100,000 KM ($55,709). Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina land licensees are allowed to operate online casino games. Online gambling is prohibited in the Brčko district.

Residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina are fans of sports betting and prefer to make small bets. Football is the most popular sport here. Basketball, tennis, golf, rugby and Grand Prix are also common.

The widespread participation in gambling makes the country an attractive investment opportunity. Around 70.5% of Bosnians have gambled in a casino at least once in their life, 27% of respondents have gambled more frequently over a longer period, and 10% gamble weekly.

Montenegro

Gambling in Montenegro was legalized in 2006 and online gambling in 2011. Regulation is the responsibility of the Gambling Administration, which is subordinate to the Ministry of Finance.

An online casino license can only be obtained by operators of land-based gaming establishments registered as joint stock companies or limited liability companies. The requirements and period of validity depend on the type — lotteries, casino games, betting, slot machines, etc. Due to constant demand, most land-based gambling establishments are launching online projects.

Virtual gambling sites offer a wider variety of games than land-based gambling establishments. This is achieved through innovative products from online casino developers. For example, the APIgrator Slotegrator’s solution allows you to integrate over 7,000 games from over 100 licensed industry developers into a gaming site with one click, including slots, live dealer games, poker, virtual sports , card games and casual games.

The gambling audience in Montenegro is promising – almost 40% of Montenegrins periodically gamble in the casino and bet on sports. Montenegrins especially like the European and American versions of roulette and baccarat, blackjack, poker and punto banco. The list of favorite sports for betting includes football, water polo, volleyball, basketball and handball.

Croatia

Almost all forms of gambling were regulated in Croatia in 2014. To open an online casino in the country, you must obtain a local license issued by the Ministry of Finance, as well as the operation of a land-based casino, as in Montenegro Or in Bosnia. .

Gaming licenses here are valid for 15 years. To buy one, operators must pay an annual fee of HRK 3,000,000 ($431,648) and have at least HRK 4,000,000 ($575,514) in registered capital throughout the period.

Foreign platforms that do not have a local license cannot accept players or payments from Croatia. However, 82% of the Croatian population – nearly 24 million people – use the Internet, and there are 106.6 mobile subscriptions per 100 people, providing sufficient infrastructure for the development of online gambling.

Croatians love to play blackjack, roulette, baccarat and online slot machines. Like their neighbors, they bet on football, basketball and tennis. Mobile gaming is more common here than in neighboring countries, so responsive web design is an absolute must.

Slovenia

Slovenia has a moderate regulatory regime. Sports betting and lotteries are under a state monopoly, and only those who already operate a land-based gambling establishment can run an online casino. The country plans to liberalize gambling legislation; the first attempts were made in 2013 and 2016. The obvious conclusion is that Slovenia is seriously considering opening its market to foreign companies.

The Ministry of Finance is responsible for issuing licenses. The operator must enter into a concession agreement with the country’s government.

News about the development of online gambling in Slovenia appears irregularly, suggesting that the gambling sector in the country is very conservative. The latest burst of activity was associated with the desire of some MPs to improve legislation and create a controlled market, so that, for example, users stop ignoring the betting monopoly and using the services of operators who do not have a license.

Despite the seemingly closed nature of the gambling industry in the country, Slovenia is considered attractive in terms of traffic, as there are virtually no restrictions on admission to gambling. More than 80% of the population uses the Internet, which contributes to the development of the online segment. Slovenian residents happily gamble in online casinos and bet on football, hockey and virtual sports.

North Macedonia

Gambling in North Macedonia was legalized in 2011, but the industry is a de facto state monopoly; a majority stake in Macedonia’s National Video Lottery is held by local authorities, which received the first and only license issued in the country in 2014.

Popular games among locals are Jackpot Giant, Age of the Gods, Jungle Trouble, Starburst, Twin Spin, Gonzo’s Quest, Aloha Cluster Pays, etc.

slotscraper, a leading developer and aggregator of video game software, has been expanding its presence in the markets of the former Yugoslavia for nearly a decade. Favorable licensing terms, a growing economy and an enthusiastic user base are just some of the reasons to open an online casino in one of these countries.

Moreover, in recent years, the countries mentioned above have digitized. This was driven by entrepreneurs’ desire to stabilize business performance, which has been subject to fluctuations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors. In the future, any business, including gambling, will probably go online or decide to create an additional online direction.

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