The Slovakian government has approved legislation originally tabled by the Ministry of Finance in May to allow international online operators access to the country.
The bill, with stipulates that interested firms must form partnerships with a local representative to act as government liaison, follows an unsuccessful attempt to discourage international operators through blacklisting.
“[A] list of prohibited websites shall be compiled and published by the Financial Directorate of the Slovak Republic at its website always on the first business day in the week,” stated the Gambling Act 171/2005.
However, with the demand for online gambling undiminished, the government has agreed to licence companies in competition with state-owned Tipos, though the monopoly-holding operator will retain control over lotteries, bingo and raffles. Applications for online casino licenses are set to begin on 1 March, 2019, with licenses awarded three months later. Permission to hold an online sports bet- ting licence will be considered from 1 July, 2019, but will only be granted on 1 July, 2020.
To operate both online sports betting and casino games, successful applicants will be asked to invest E5m in a licence, with individual licences for the two verticals costing E3m each.
Online licences will be valid for ten years, with a proviso stating that operators wishing to establish a land-based presence in the country have the option to curtail the duration to five years.
Tax will stand at 22 percent of online gaming revenue, overseen by the new Office for Regulation of Gambling, funded by a 0.7 percent increase in duty on GGR.