The Parliament of the Slovak Republic has adopted the new gambling act prepared by the Ministry of Finance. The new act should become effective on 1 March 2019, except for some provisions which will be effective as of 1 June 2019.
The main changes which are relevant for operators (primarily online operators) are:
- The creation of a new gambling regulator, called the Office for Regulation of Gambling (“Office”). Currently the regulator is the Ministry. It is foreseen that the Office will be financed by contributions in the amount of 0.7% of turnover in the case of operators of certain lottery games, and 0.7% of gross gaming revenue (“GGR”) in the case of operators of other games.
- Opening the Slovak market for foreign operators – even operators with a registered office outside of Slovakia will be able to obtain a licence. However, foreign operators will be required to have a representative in Slovakia who will need to register with the Office and communicate with the Office on behalf of the operators.
- Allowing private operators to obtain an online licence for most types of games. Currently, only the state monopoly holds the online licence. Under the new regime, the state monopoly will only apply to numerical lotteries, special bingo and receipt lotteries.
- A tax on online games is proposed at 22% of GGR. A tax on land-based games will in some cases be based on turnover (e.g. betting will be subject to 6% tax of the turnover), in some cases on GGR (e.g. some of the casino games will be subject to tax rate of 30% of GGR) and will in some other cases be set at a fixed amount (e.g. for gambling machines in gambling premises).
- A licence application fee for each of the Internet casino games and Internet betting games set at EUR 3 million. If operators apply for licences for both online casino games and online betting, the combined application fee will be EUR 5 million.
- Online betting licences and online casino licences are to be issued for a maximum period of 10 years. In the case of a combined licence for land-based and online casinos, the maximum licence period is five years with an option for an additional five years (which can be exercised by the operator). The same 5 + 5-year period applies to a combined licence for land-based and online betting.
- Licences for online casinos are to be issued with effect as of 1 July 2019 and applications for them are to be filed only on or after 1 March 2019. Licences for online betting are to be issued with effect from 1 July 2020 and applications for them are to be filed only on or after 1 July 2019.
- Blacklist, Site Blocking Orders or Account Blocking Orders issued under the old Gambling Act are to stay in place as if issued under the new regime. A licence can be issued only to applicants provided that neither they nor any member of the same group of companies were included on the Blacklist for a period of 12 months prior to the date of their licence application.