Slovakian Court Overturns Gambling Ban

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Slovakian Court Overturns Gambling Ban ( Click to Enlarge )

Online casinos in Slovakia have won a reprieve after the courts recently overturned a plan to ban gambling in the country. Government officials voted for a complete ban on gambling (with the exception of lotteries) in 2017. The law was expected to come into force by 2021, but the wishes of over 136,000 residents who signed a petition to veto the ruling were taken into consideration this week.

Changing Face Of Gambling Legislation

European gambling legislation can be difficult to keep up with. Laws are often strict and can vary greatly from country to country.

For example, countries like France and Italy have reasonably relaxed gambling laws, whereas others are keen to restrict gambling, outright ban it or keep it under close scrutiny.

However, a new trend which tends to open up opportunities for online casino operators appears to be appearing in many of Europe’s former Soviet states – with Slovakia leading the way.

Slovakian Gambling

Gambling was illegal in Slovakia until 1992, when betting platforms were permitted provided they were located within the country. Over the following two decades, the increasing popularity of online casinos (and poker in particular) led to increasing numbers of gambling operators opening in Slovakia.

However, in 2017, newly-introduced laws attempted to ban all online gambling in the country, with the exception of government-sponsored sites. Lawbreakers faced the threat of a €500,000 fine. The net result was a huge reduction in taxation profits for the government – prompting calls for change from officials.

What’s Changing?

Since the beginning of 2019, Slovakian parliament has vetoed a presidential vote seeking to outright ban gambling in the country. On the contrary, the government instead voted to allow for foreign, off-shore online casinos to operate within Slovakia, provided they purchase the appropriate gambling licenses.

At €3 million apiece, the licenses most certainly don’t come cheap and must also be renewed every ten years – but it’s been enough to pique the interest of some of the world’s biggest online casino operators.

A Europe-wide Movement

Slovakia isn’t the only country which has decided to take another look at how their gambling rules work. For example, Germany placed a ban on all forms of online casino betting in 2008, before overturning the decision in 2010. Online casinos were allowed once again, although the rules are reasonably complex.

Sweden is another country with traditionally strict gambling laws. However, it approved online gambling in 2002 for casinos which are licensed with the Swedish state. Some commentators feel that Slovakia’s decision to allow online casino firms to operate within the country is a move which takes cues from the Swedish model.