Gambling operators oppose change to payment rules in Montenegro

Gamblers in Montenegro would have to make deposits at betting shops.
Gamblers in Montenegro would have to make deposits at betting shops.

Montenegro plans to ban electronic payment methods for gambling.

Montenegro.- The trade association Montenegro Bet has submitted a petition to the country’s assembly calling for it to reject proposed changes to gambling legislation that would ban the use of electronic payment methods. It argues that the proposed amendments are unconstitutional and incompatible with the law of European Union, which the country has an eye on applying to join.

The amendment to Article 68f of Montenegro gambling law would ban the use of ebanking and mobile payments for deposits to betting accounts. That would leave customers with the option of depositing cash at a betting shop or paying by card, again only at a betting shop via a terminal.

Some 25,000 people have signed Montenegro Bet’s petition in a country that has a population of 620,000. The trade association says the move could severely impact business, with potential job losses as a result.

Jovana Klisić, a representative of Montenegro Bet, said: “With the sector directly and indirectly employing almost 2 per cent of the country’s workforce in an environment with an unemployment rate of 15 per cent, any negative impact on this industry could have very harmful and far-reaching consequences.

“The removal of ebanking for deposits, despite the compliance and transparency, not only affects operational efficiency but also jeopardises jobs, with detrimental effects on Montenegro’s broader economy.”

Klisić said the amendments breach five EU legal provisions, including Article 72 of the Montenegro-EU Stabilisation and Association Agreement and the Payment Services Directive. She also noted that a move to electronic payments was favoured by AML watchdogs like Moneyval and the Financial Action Task Force.

In 2022, the Slovakian Ministry of Finance (MR-SF) and the country’s gambling regulator URHH hosted a study visit for their counterparts from Montenegro.

The Slovakian authorities hosted representatives from the Montenegro Ministry of Finance and Office for Gambling Regulation as part of a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project. The visit aimed to explore ways to “enhance transparent and responsible management of public finances from gambling”.

In this article:
gambling regulation online gambling