This guidance on gambling regulation in Eastern European countries will help operators and game developers to find out about their legislation’s peculiarities.
Most countries of Eastern Europe are members of the European Union, so they must comply with GDPR. However, it does not mean that they cannot have their specific legislation that complements the EU regulation and determines the policy of the state regarding land-based and online casinos. Non-EU countries have their separate gambling regulation or do not have any at all because of this business’s illegality.
Players from Eastern European countries have a good understanding of what online games they prefer, and their countries’ governments are developing legal frameworks for gambling companies’ operation there. The latest trend shows that significant profits received by the countries due to this business’s legalization outweigh its possible drawbacks such as excessive gambling or crime rate increase. Gambling legislation in Eastern Europe is becoming more progressive, which leads to investment growth in this field. That is why the online gambling industry has been developing year by year.
Casino game developers who want to join this attractive market should monitor changes in Eastern European countries’ legislation in order to legally operate there, as well as do their best in this business. This article will help you to briefly review the peculiarities of the countries specified below with regard to their gambling policies, but we highly recommend taking a closer look at the legislation of the country you are interested in before starting your business there.
Here’s the list of Eastern European countries presented in alphabetical order for you to feel more comfortable while looking for the necessary information.
After permitting casinos (specific types) on its territory at the beginning of this century, Albania legalized lotteries and sports betting companies’ operation as well. However, online gambling licenses have not been implemented in the country yet. For the time being, multiple online casinos operate in Albania without a license, but after introducing gambling licenses, operators would require them in order not to be blocked in the country.
Despite the fact that online gambling in Belarus is currently prohibited, the authorities are actively developing gambling legislation in order to regulate this business after its legalization.
Bosnia & Herzegovina
National lotteries, casino games, and sports bookmakers are allowed in Bosnia & Herzegovina, but the republic’s government plans to shut down foreign online casinos on its territory. However, their operation in the country is still legal.
Bulgarian gambling industry is very advanced due to the big range of licenses for related services: horse race betting, casino services, poker, bingo, sports betting, and lotteries. The authorities have been developing gambling legislation with a focus on generating revenue by increasing taxes for operators. After a big tax increase in 2013, many gambling business representatives started complaining about the level of taxation.
Croatia has a comprehensive licensing platform that covers the same kind of services as in Bulgaria. The main difference is that only local casinos or betting operators (those that are located in Croatia) can obtain a gambling license there.
Only domestic operators who pay taxes to the local budget are allowed to legally operate in the Czech Republic. In turn, foreign companies cannot offer their services to the citizens. However, the government is considering the possibility to open this market to foreign operators after the new lottery law implementation, which will oblige them to have a gambling license in the Czech Republic. In addition, international operators will be taxed at a higher rate compared to local ones. For the time being, lottery, sports and horse race betting are regulated by the state.
Gambling in Estonia was allowed in 2010, and since then domestic and foreign online casinos can legally operate in the country. This also applies to sports betting and horse racing betting companies, bingo, and the national lottery. However, all of them require two licenses: the first one to comply with the Gambling Act (general permission for gambling operation in Estonia), and the second one – with Estonian Tax & Customs Board’s requirements (for online gambling activities).
Gambling on the territory of Hungary is allowed only in two land-based casinos that can operate in such regulated types of gaming as lottery, bingo, casino, poker, and betting. The country’s monopoly on gambling operation is a subject of concern for the EU authorities but this has not yet led to any legislative changes in Hungary. With regard to international gambling companies, they operate in the country despite the ban, i.e. illegally.
2003 was the year when the local authorities permitted online gambling operation in Latvia, but obtaining a license has recently become a problem in the country due to the gambling policy review by the government. Since 2014, the Lotteries and Gambling Supervision Inspection has been actively blacklisting websites violating Latvian gaming legislation. This applies to all international operators who have not received a license from the regulator.
Since the introduction of online gaming ban in Lithuania, seventeen operators have received their licenses starting from 2011. The authorities are actively developing new gambling legislation in order to regulate this profitable industry. The recent innovation with regard to gambling operators is the government’s demand to have a physical office in the country.
As mentioned earlier, Spanish authorities are to prohibit gambling advertising for online gambling operators.
Read more: Gambling Legislation in European Countries