Croatia, which is officially referred to as the Republic of Croatia has a population of about 4 million and ranks among the top 20 best tourist destination in the world. Croatia has one of the most liberal gambling regulations in Europe. One of the popular entertainment activities among the citizens and the tourists who visit the country is gambling. The gambling regulations also do not prohibit gambling and residents frequent the over 15 casinos in the country to play different games.
Types of Legal and Illegal Gambling in Croatia
The positive gambling environment in Croatia has facilitated the growth of different types of legal gambling activities within the country. Some of the legal types of gambling include lottery, poker, sports betting, and casino games. Those who have attained the age of 18 years are allowed by law to participate in both offline and online gambling activities.
Stance on Offline Gambling in Croatia
Croatia regulations do not prohibit most of the offline gambling activities. Land-based games such as poker and table games are found in most Croatian cities. The country also has a state lottery which is overseen by Hrvatska Lutrija. Other legal offline games of chance include Keno, bingo, and sports betting.
As a result of the relaxed stance on offline gambling, several casino businesses have cropped up in Croatia. One of the largest Casinos in the country is Casino Minerva, located in Plovanija. The private sector which has the highest number of offline casinos is the hotels and tourism industry. The casinos in the hotels play an important complementary role in the hotel business and this explains their high prevalence in this hotels and tourism industry.
Stance on Online Gambling in Croatia
Croatia legalized online gambling in 2010. Those who wish to operate online gambling sites in Croatia are required to comply with the set of laws in the ordinance of Online Interactive Casino Gaming’. These laws were streamlined in 2014 by the Croatian parliament to fill in unclear gaps and clauses. The ministry of finance has the overall regulatory power over gambling operations in the country.
After the 2014 amendment of the laws governing gambling, strict licensing requirements came into force. These requirements include high starting capital, proof of compliance with the law, be able to meet the minimum technology specifications among many other requirements. The gambling authorities also are required by law to carry out routine inspection and audit of the gambling companies. The licenses of those found to have lowered the initial compliance requirements are revoked and penalties applied.
Stance on Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin Gambling
In its bid to promote the development and the innovation of cryptocurrency-related technologies such as Blockchain, Croatian government recently launched UBIK, a self-regulating Blockchain organization. This body consists of Blockchain developers, investors, and cryptocurrency interest groups. This move is a clear indication that Croatia is pro-cryptocurrency.
Since Croatian residents are not prohibited from participating in online gambling activities, any cryptocurrency gambling enthusiast is thus free to register and play cryptocurrency-based gambling games online. Despite the lack of regulations prohibiting cryptocurrency gambling, the Croatian authorities through a statement issued by the Financial Stability Council of Croatia stated that those who choose to participate in cryptocurrency-related transactions are not protected by the Croatian law. They should thus take the necessary security precautions before engaging in virtual currency trading and gambling since the individuals and entities offering cryptocurrency products are not regulated by any Croatian oversight body.
Regulatory Authorities and Important Laws
Croatia has several laws and regulatory bodies which guide and oversee gambling activities across the country. These include:
- Ministry of Finance: This is the overall ministry under which all gambling activities fall under.
- Hrvatska Lutrija: This organization is mandated to oversee different gambling activities in Croatia. The organization is also tasked with the role of organizing national lotteries and development of new gaming products to match the expectations of the Croatian gambling market.
- Gambling Act of 2010 (commonly referred to as the Ordinance of Online Interactive Casino Gaming) - The laws in this act legalized online gambling. Due to the lack of clarity in some sections of this act, amendments were done in 2014 to bring more light into the gaming regulations. This act has the licensing requirements, the taxation regime to be applied to gambling companies and the players who stake and win, and also sets out the roles of the gambling oversight body.
Before 2014, most of the Croatian laws on gambling were quite conflicting. The amendments which were done in 2014 and the subsequent approval of such amendments by the Croatian government created a positive environment where gambling undertakings could thrive.
These laws and regulations have legalized most of the gambling types in this nation. Thus international betting companies can freely apply for licenses and once granted carry out both online and offline games in Croatia. The citizens are also not prohibited from placing stakes in offshore gambling websites implying that foreign companies can still gain a substantial market foothold in Croatia.