The Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic (the “Ministry”) has submitted a draft Gambling Act (the “Draft Act”), with a proposed effective date of 1 March 2019, to the interdepartmental comments procedure.
The main aim of the Draft Act is the comprehensive regulation of gambling, which would take into account technological advancements and the experience of regulators in other European countries.
The Draft Act significantly enhances the authority of municipalities in deciding on the gambling establishment locations in their territories. Municipalities will also have the option to prohibit certain types of gambling games during specifically designated days up to a maximum of twelve days per year.
The Draft Act places further emphasis on strengthening player protection. Such protective measures against the adverse effects of gambling operations include restricting the operation of certain types of games to gambling houses only, prohibiting the players registered in the Register of Excluded Persons from playing selected gambling games, and restrictions on gaming advertising.
The liberalization of access to the online gambling market belongs to one of the most fundamental changes that would be brought about by the Draft Act. The Draft Act proposes that companies established in the EU and EEA will also be able to obtain an individual license for online gambling games (and also for other gambling games). New definitions of individual types of gambling games and a new structure and hierarchy of licenses are closely linked to the changes in the online gambling market. Web site blocking of unlicensed gambling operators will continue.
In order to make the supervision more effective, a new regulatory authority for gambling games (funded by payments from gambling operators) will be established: the Regulatory and Gambling Supervision Office (the “Office”). All activities connected with gambling games, save for drafting related legislation, shall fall under the authority of the Office. In addition, the Ministry has proposed that all technical devices used for the operation of gambling games should be connected to the operator's server to which the Office would have access. This would allow the Office to exercise more effective control of the operators.
The measures, adopted in the last amendment to the current Gambling Act (effective January 2017), that tightened up the regulation of gambling games remain in force. There are no changes to the restrictions on siting of gambling houses or to the prohibition on minors entering gambling houses.
As the Draft Act has not yet been presented to the Parliament, its wording is not final and may be subject to change.
Co-authored by Dominika Mislovicova.