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Is Slovakia on the Onset of New Gambling Activity Rise?

In 2023, players in Slovakia wagered a total of €21.4 billion in the country's regulated gambling market, according to the latest annual figures released by the Slovakian Gambling Regulation Office (ÚRHH).

Players got back €20.4 billion in winnings from the total spending, while the state received over €301 million, a €50 million increase compared to the amount received in 2022.

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Online gaming taxes account for €93 million of the total contributions to the state, while fixed-odds betting contributed €80.48 million. Land-based casinos remitted €61.9 million. Slovakia permits various forms of gambling, including sports betting, horse race betting, poker, and casino games. However, the state monopolizes lottery and bingo operations through its operator, Tipos.

In 2019, Slovakia expanded its regulated gambling sector to include overseas operators. The development paved the way for the establishment of a dedicated online gaming department by ÚRHH to regulate licensed internet gaming and prevent access to illegal gambling websites.

Municipalities Making Moves to Ban Gambling

Despite Slovakia's budding gambling industry and the huge contributions to the state's revenue, some municipalities are planning to ban gambling, and this has sparked concerns in some quarters, including the ÚRHH.

I would like this topic to be subject to a wider social discussion," he said. "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.

Martin BohošDirector General of Slovakia's Gambling Regulatory Authority

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2023 Figures Prove ÚRHH’s Effectiveness

According to Bohoš, the 2023 positive results show that the regulator's measures against unlicensed gambling operators were effective. He cited successful interventions targeting gaming machines in pubs and hospitality venues while mentioning ongoing monitoring of unlicensed gambling operators and the regulation of loot boxes in computer games.

Additionally, Bohoš cautioned that banning gambling in some municipalities could drive players to illegal gambling sites. He further stated that proposed bans in certain municipalities could lead to a projected decrease of up to 22 percent in the contributions of land-based casinos to the state by 2025.

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