Slovakian gambling regulator reports sharp rise in bets during 2023

The Slovakian regulator warned against proposal to ban gambling in some municipalities.
The Slovakian regulator warned against proposal to ban gambling in some municipalities.

The regulator says bets totalled €21.4bn while contributions to the state were up by over 20 per cent.

Slovakia.- The Slovakian Gambling Regulation Office ÚRHH has reported that €21.4bn in bets were placed on the country’s regulated market in 2023. Meanwhile, players recouped €20.4bn in winnings and contributions to the state rose by more than €50m year-on-year to over €301m.

Slovakia regulates sports betting, horse race betting, poker and casino. Lottery and bingo remain the preserve of the state-owned monopoly provider, state-owned Tipos. Online gaming taxes accounted for €93m of all contributions to the state, while fixed-odds betting contributed €80.48m and land-based casinos €61.9m.

Director General Martin Bohoš said that the regulator’s action against unlicensed gambling operators was proving to be effective. he highlighted successful operations against gaming machines in pubs and hospitality venues and said the regulator was monitoring unlicensed gambling operators and loot boxes in computer games.

However, Bohoš spoke against moves by some municipalities to ban gambling, warning that such measures could drive players to the black market.  

“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.”

He also noted that proposed bans in some municipalities also meant that the contributions of land-based casinos to the state are expected to fall by up to 22 per cent in 2025. Legislators in the capital Bratislava voted to ban all casinos and gaming halls in the city in 2020.

Slovakia opened its regulated gambling sector to overseas operators in 2019. Last year, the ÚRHH reported an increase in inspections after it restructured supervision functions. It undertook 2,511 inspections in the first quarter, 201 more than in Q1 2022.

The ÚRHH said that its leadership had put a new strategic focus on performance. It also established a dedicated online gaming department, which it says increased the effectiveness of supervision in this area. The new department oversees licensed internet gaming and aims to prevent access to websites that operate or promote unlicensed gambling.  

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