Gambling is legalized in Slovakia, and the country has a rather developed gambling industry. Casino gambling goes back to the early 1990s, when land based casinos started to emerge in Slovakia. The country first introduced a Gambling Act that allowed the regulation and taxation of gambling operations in 2005. Slovakia adopted new gambling legislation to regulate the online gambling industry in early 2019. The President of Slovakia vetoed the new legislation, but the Slovak Parliament overrode this veto.
The interest in gambling in Slovakia has remained quite stable in recent years, based on the amount of deposits received. Slovak players spent about EUR 3.5 billion on gambling in 2017.
The Slovak gambling market has a rather large number of players. It is divided among over 110 gambling operators who supply gambling services in their respective sectors. The legal gambling age in Slovakia is 18.
Laws and Regulators
The Gambling Act No. 30/2019 on gambling games, which entered into force on March 1, 2019, regulates gambling in Slovakia. The new legislation reflects the modern shift of players from land-based casinos, slot halls, and bookmakers to the online gambling platforms. The act established the Gambling Regulatory Authority to supervise and control land-based and online gambling activities in Slovakia (https://www.urhh.sk/).
The Gambling Regulatory Authority is a state regulation body that deals with all aspects of gambling regulations (except proposing legislation). Competencies for individual aspects of gambling used to be divided between the Ministry of Finance, local municipalities, and the Financial Authority. All the divided competencies are transferred to the Gambling Regulatory Authority, starting from June 1, 2019.
Land Based Casinos
The main licensed casino operators in Slovakia are Banco Casino (http://www.bancocasino.sk/web/), Casinos Slovakia (http://casinos.sk/sk/uvod/), Admiral Casino (https://www.casinoadmiral.sk/), Olympic Casino (https://sk.olympic-casino.com/). Casinos in Slovakia are spread throughout a number of regions (Bratislava, Košice, Piešťany, Žilina, Zvolen, Poprad, Nitra, and Trnava). Bratislava is the largest casino city in Slovakia, with several spacious casinos.
Casinos are located in luxe hotels and resorts, or close to them. Slovak casinos provide an attractive gambling atmosphere and offer first-class service. The entry is usually free. The dress code is smart-casual; there is no need for formal clothing. All casinos offer live table games and various slot machines. Slot machines within casinos have no limit for the maximum bet, while slot machines outside casinos have the maximum bet set at EUR 10. Players on the slot machine can win a Jackpot prize game. Most Slovak casinos also organize poker and roulette games.
Online gambling was prohibited in Slovakia for a long time. The Gambling Act 2005 limited ‘Internet Games’ to the state lottery. The national lottery company TIPOS had a monopoly on operating online games (http://www.tipos.sk/). For a long time, online casino and poker activities remained the sole responsibility of the state-owned TIPOS.
The new Gambling Act contains comprehensive regulation of online gambling in Slovakia. It eliminated Slovakia’s online sports betting monopoly and legalized online slots and casino games for the first time. The Gambling Act allows private operators to obtain online betting and online casino licenses. The gambling regulator started to accept online casino applications from March 1, 2019 and applications for sports betting licenses from July 1, 2019. Private domestic companies, EU and EEA companies can apply for online gambling licenses in Slovakia. TIPOS has exclusive control only over raffles, bingo, and online lottery.
Slovakia blacklists unauthorized gambling domains, introduces website and payment blocking to keep unlicensed online gambling operators out of the Slovak gambling market. According to the Financna sprava press release, the public blacklist of illegal gambling operators currently has 179 websites