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Slovaks place €21.4bn in bets over 2023 as online market surges

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Slovaks placed €21.4bn (£18.3bn/$23.1bn) in bets during 2023, revealed during a press conference held at the office of the country’s Regulation of Gambling Games.

Martin Bohoš, director general of the regulator, stated players in Slovakia were paid €20.4bn in winnings. Contributions to the state rose by over €50m year-on-year to more than €301m.

In state contributions, the online levy accounted for €93m of the total, while fixed-odds bets were responsible for €80.48m. Land-based casinos, meanwhile, contributed €61.9m to the state.

The online market continues to dominate, with 90% of Slovaks preferring to bet online. For number lotteries, however, online betting accounts for just 14% of bets with Slovaks still preferring to play the lottery at land-based venues.

The tax rate for fixed-odds betting in Slovakia is 22% of gross gaming revenue (GGR) for online operators and 6% of turnover for land-based companies. For casino, meanwhile, the rate is again 22% for online operators. For land-based casinos, 27% of the GGR goes to the state while 3% goes to the municipality in which the casino is located.

Regulator looking to clamp down on illegal operators

Bohoš noted the ongoing challenges the Slovakia regulator is facing with illegal online operators. However, he also highlighted that statistics show the fight against illegal gambling has been “effective”, especially on technical devices such as quiz machines in pubs and other hospitality venues.

The battle with illegal operators stretches to online, too, with the regulator actively searching for online black-market operators, including loot boxes in computer games. The regulator has the power to place sanctions on advertising of illegal operators.

Bohoš outlined the risks of certain municipalities looking to ban gambling, saying such restrictive measures can drive players to the potentially harmful black market.  

“I would like this topic to be subject to a wider social discussion, because if someone feels that by banning legal gambling in the territory of a larger city, gambling will be dealt with, yes, legal gambling will be dealt with, but the risks of illegal gambling will remain high.”

In May 2023, the regulator announced it had conducted 2,511 inspections during Q1. This was 201 more than in the same quarter of 2022. Digital inspections shot up by 90% compared to Q1 2022.

Municipality restrictions expected to reduce land-based contributions

Though land-based casinos contributed €61.9m into the state budget over 2023, the regulator expects that figure to drop by up to 22% in 2025. This is because of the prohibitive regulations of certain municipalities.

Municipalities have the power to regulate gambling on their territory. These capabilities include the banning of land-based venues and other restrictions such as forbidding certain locations.

Bohoš also criticised Slovak cities and municipalities for not paying enough attention to the nation’s gambling agenda.

What products are available in Slovakia?

Sports betting, horse race betting, poker and casino are all regulated gambling products in Slovakia. Lottery and bingo, meanwhile, are reserved for the monopoly provider, state-owned Tipos.

Slovakia’s gambling law came into force on 1 March 2019. This allowed private operators outside of Slovakia to apply for sports betting and casino licences, though sports betting licences only became active on 1 July 2020.

In 2022, the country’s regulator published a whitelist of websites that are run by licenced operators in Slovakia.

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