Gambling, casinos, slot halls and online casinos in Croatia
Tourism dominates the Croatian service sector, and a wide-spread gambling industry is developed in the country. The country's gambling industry is constantly growing, especially when it comes to the so-called “tourist gambling”. According to the data from Fina (Financial Agency, Croatian company in the field of financial and electronic services), in 2017, the highest total gambling revenue was generated in the past ten years. The revenue from gambling and betting amounted to HRK 3.2 billion, which is about EUR 430 million (https://www.fina.hr/-/poduzetnici-u-djelatnosti-kockanja-i-kla-enja-u-2017-u-odnosu-na-2008-godinu-povecali-neto-dobit-za-211-4-).
Croatia has a very liberal gaming regulation. The gambling regulation allows both land-based gambling and online gambling. Those who are 18 and older can participate in different gambling activities (casino games, poker, lottery games, and sports-betting).
Various types of table games, including poker, are allowed in casinos only. Casino games, bingo, sports gaming, lottery and keno games are all put under the control of the state company Hrvatska Lutrija (Croatian Lottery). The original activity of Hrvatska Lutrija was organization of different lotteries. Nowadays, Hrvatska Lutrija (https://www.lutrija.hr/) offers a wide range of various lottery and betting games, slot machine games, and casino games that are constantly being developed. Private companies and providers are also allowed to offer services to Croatian players, as well as operate online gambling platforms under the Croatian domain.
The Law on Gambling, Zakon o igrama na sreću (https://www.zakon.hr/z/315/Zakon-o-igrama-na-sre%C4%87u), which came into force on January 1, 2015 after it had been approved by the European Commission, regulates gambling in Croatia. All gambling activities in Croatia fall under the Ministry of Finance (http://www.mfin.hr/).
Land Based Gambling
Under the Gambling Act, gambling activities in Croatia are classified into four groups: casino games, slot machines, lotteries, and betting.
Land-based casino games, table games and poker, are legal but strictly confined to licensed casinos found in many Croatian cities. Casinos are often associated with hotels, more specifically in the coastal areas. Hotels have the highest number of land-based casinos to complement the hotel business.
Over ten different casinos operate throughout Croatia. They usually offer their players traditional casino games and slot machines. Zagreb, which has the greatest concentration of gambling places, is the largest gambling city in Croatia. Other casinos are mainly located in seaside resorts that attract tourists.
The minimum gambling age in Croatian casinos is 18. Proper identification papers, a local ID or a passport, must be shown. Each casino has their specific rules and regulations, so it is highly recommended to check them with the chosen casino.
Croatia has more than 150 slot halls, known as “automat klubs”, which operate in many cities and towns throughout the country. Participating in slot machine games is allowed only to adults who are obliged to prove their age, at the request of the organizer, by an ID or a passport. Slot machines pay at least 80% of the gambling payment as winnings.
Online gambling was legalized in Croatia in 2010. In order to manage online operators, Croatia passed the Ordinance on Interactive Online Casino Gaming, 2010 (amended in 2014). Online gambling is legal for citizens over 18. Online gambling can only be offered by locally registered companies in Croatia who already possess a land-based gambling license.
There is a large presence of the state in online gambling activities, but private companies are also allowed to run online gambling platforms. Online gaming operations, including sports-betting operations, horse and dog races, lottery, bingo, and keno, are offered by both the state-run Hrvatska Lutrija and the local subsidiary of Hattrick – Prva Sportska Kladionica.
Hrvatska Lutrija has partnered with Intralot Interactive and Microgaming to provide a range of the Croatian Lottery's casino games (table games, slots games, poker, and multi-player bingo) (https://www.lutrija.hr/). Prva Sportska Kladionica offers the Croatian market online sports-betting and Lotto at its website (http://hattrick.hr/hr).
Croatian authorities are working on a new regulation that would make foreign online betting sites legalize their business in the country as foreign operators do not pay fees at the moment. The Ministry of Finance wants the government to tax all online gambling industry in Croatia which is worth up to HRK 2 billion (approximately EUR 270 million) a year (https://www.total-croatia-news.com/business/33802-online-betting
Popular Croatia online casinos provide the possibility of playing their games via mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones that are powered either by the Android, iOS or Windows Mobile. Sports-betting is also available via mobile devices, either by visiting the website of online gambling providers or by installing their apps.