Slovakia President Vetoes Gambling Regulatory Bill

  • Slovakia’s President vetoes proposed regulatory gambling framework
  • Fears over transparency and integrity cited
  • Lawmakers need to look for a solution

Restrictive gambling laws in Slovakia may not soon the case, with new salvos of exchanges between lawmakers and President Andreja Kiska. President Kiska is now looking at a stiff opposition.

Slovakia’s Presidential Veto on Gambling Won’t Stick

Slovakia was one of the countries in 2018 to work towards a from-head-to-toe regulatory framework for its gambling industry. The government agreed to elaborate a framework that would allow everyone to benefit from the changes introduced therein, helping business, customers and the state’s coffer.

With a vote that passed on December 4, 2018, the proposed gambling regulation was sent to President Andreja Kiska for ratification. This is the first time since 2005 when Slovakia has decided to change its gambling laws.

The President refused to play his part, citing genuine concerns about the transparency and safety of the bill and the people it would affect.

President Kiska said that the bill failed to outline how it would protect customers and how the self-exclusion scheme would work. Funding to social causes was also muddled in the legalese, the President noted.

Lawmakers have designed the law to conform with active regulation in other European Union member states, including Romania, Denmark, and the recently-regulated Swedish market which became active on January 1, 2019. But the state will need to address this last hurdle before the market truly opens up.

Slovakia Is Close to Signing Gambling Act into Law

Based on the now vetoed bill, Slovakia will open up its market in July 1, when the first operators will be allowed to start developing their products. Application, though, would start as early as March with actual operations deferred by 2020 at the earliest.

The law is quite comprehensive, though, accounting for the location of gaming venues as well as the allowable number of games that can be found on the premises of such establishments. Casinos wouldn’t be able to operate within 200 meters of schools and hospitals as well.

All gambling machines and table games will have to be relocated to the venues allocated for the purpose.

A Few Final Touches

The rift between lawmakers and President Kiska doesn’t seem significant. By vetoing the bill, the President Kiska signals provisions that need and can be worked through. Funding from the industry is a fair remark.

In most states in the United States, any new bill seeks to outline how precisely any proceedings from gambling would be used to bolster the state’s coffers. Some states have even decided to use legalized poker and sports betting to support their pension funds.

A similar referendum was held in Switzerland in 2018, with Swiss voters deciding to adopt a series of measures safeguarding domestic companies contributing to the pension system of the country, bolstered largely by gambling proceedings.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Slovakia Is Close to Signing Gambling Act into Law

Slovakia is edging closer to becoming the next open market for iGaming products in the European Union (EU), following similar moves from Sweden and Poland. While lawmakers have been dragging their feet on the issue, a number of proponents of legalized gambling have been throwing their full support behind a legal framework.

Slovakia to Become a Free iGaming Country

A while back, the Slovakian Ministry of Finance drafted a piece of legislation referred to as the Gambling Act. Following months of debate, the bill has finally cleared parliament, garnering the support it needed all along.

In July, 2018, the bill was submitted to the European Commission, which regulates and approves gambling laws on the territory of the EU. Following a three-month standstill period, the bill now only awaits President Andrej Kiska’s signature to become a law.

The Gambling Act is an important turning point in the history of Slovakian iGaming, transforming the industry from a no man’s land into a regulated market where consumer protection is the guiding principle. Similar changes have been recently passed in other Member States, including Romania and the Czech Republic along with Denmark, which has been posting ever stronger results after the collapse of the Danske Spil monopoly.

On the Road to Regulation and Licensing

The bill will grant iGaming companies in the country a grace period until March 1, 2019 during which all interested businesses will have to obtain their online casino licenses. The first casinos will officially launch on July 1, 2019.

Now that the market is finally opening up, the bill will also reform sports betting and offer fixed-odds betting licenses, allowing companies to apply for a permit starting on July 1, although any business that wants to offer these segments will have to wait until July, 2020 before they can roll out their products.

As most new markets, Slovakia is not hesitant about taxing any operator lightly. A 23% gross revenue tax has been voted for all online casinos, including fixed-odds sports betting and peer-to-peer online games, such as most skill-based titles.

The bulk of the proceedings will be used to create a new regulator, which will be able to oversee the industry and make sure that no consumer protection laws are being violated. While this is good news, Slovakia will most likely go the same path that Denmark and others have walked at first.

In Denmark, Danske Spil used to hold onto most operations for a long while after the country had legalized sports. This monopoly is finally starting to crack year in and year out, but Danske Spil remains a favored son nevertheless.

Slovakia will also support its state-owned gaming operator, TIPOS, while competition is intensifying. If other markets are any indication, however, TIPOS is likely to soon start losing positions to far more competitive and accommodating products brought around by the vibrant competition that the newly-regulated market intends to create.

The legislation also specifies that gambling venues will have to be shut down at least 12 days a year, which is another precautionary measure against gambling addiction. Slovakia has much to figure out and a reliable law is the right way to go about it.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.