Slovakian gambling regulator restructuring leads to more inspections

Regulations for the Netherlands' licensed igaming market come into force on April 1.
Regulations for the Netherlands' licensed igaming market come into force on April 1.

The gambling regulator restructured its supervision functions with a dedicated online gaming department.

Slovakia.- The Slovakian Gambling Regulation Office ÚRHH has reported an increase in inspections in Q1 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 in November, 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.  

The regulator’s digital inspections in Q1 rose by 90 per cent as a result. Meanwhile, the number of searches of unlicensed operators rose 45 per cent, and the regulator made 437 checks on quiz and mining machines. Under Slovakia’s gambling act, gaming machines can only be operated by licensed gaming halls and casinos.

ÚRHH director Dávid Lenčéš said: “A big thank to our supervisors throughout the Slovak Republic, who actively search for illegal operations and supervise the fulfilment of the obligations of legal operators. Ensuring gambling games are under systematic supervision is one of the main tasks of the office as a regulator.”

He added: “Increased systematic control of illegal operations is justified and is bringing results, as compared to 2022, the number of detected illegal devices on the market has been significantly reduced.

“Searching for illegal establishments and seizing illegal devices is a preventive measure that protects society, especially young people and vulnerable people who are excluded from participating in gambling.”

Slovakian gambling operators agree to advertising code

Earlier this year, at least 36 gambling operators in Slovakia – more than 80 per cent of those licensed – committed to a voluntary Responsible Advertising Code in an attempt to improve social responsibility standards. The code, which was proposed by the Slovakian Office for the Regulation of Gambling (URHH), includes protections for minors and vulnerable players.

Measures in the code include commitments to draw attention to the risk of financial losses and gambling addiction. Operators have agreed not to use minors or people that appeal to minors, such as well-known sports and cultural personalities in ads. All licensed gambling operators and media stakeholders can voluntarily sign up for the code.

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