Nearly all of the major online casino sites of the world have a digital presence in Slovakia. Current gaming laws do allow for the licensing of online casinos in Slovakia, but the government has been hesitant to issue licenses to operators actually based on Slovak territory. That’s fine; we still have access to all the best gambling sites right now thanks to the international nature of the internet.
In fact, some of our most highly-reviewed casinos operate in Slovakia today:
Slovakian online casinos also accept euros for deposits, withdrawals and wagering. Support of the euro includes numerous deposit and payout methods such as credit cards, debit cards, e-wallets, direct bank transfers and even prepaid cards that you can load with cash. Additionally, the best Slovak casino sites accept Sporopay so you can make instant deposits using online banking if you have an account with Slovenska Sporitelna.
The one area in which you may have trouble is finding Slovak-language casino websites. Most casino sites also support Czech and all support English.
Slovakian Casino Laws
Both real-world and online casinos are legal in Slovakia but subject to stringent licensing requirements. The primary law concerning gambling in Slovakia is called “The Act No. 171/2005 on Gambling Games and on Amendment and Supplement to Some Acts.” This act was passed in 2005 and provides the basis for the regulation of all casino activities in Slovakia.
The Act specifically mentions online casino games in Slovakia and gives the Ministry of Finance regulatory power over all gambling. The Ministry is responsible for ensuring compliance with the law, issuing licenses and performing due diligence on prospective licensees. Additionally, the Tax Office and the Tax Directorate are responsible for collecting taxes, keeping a central register of gambling operators and ensuring compliance with certain portions of the Act.
Eight different gambling-related licenses can be awarded by the Ministry, with one of those being designated specifically for casino sites in Slovakia. Although the law does in theory open the Slovakian market to competition, the government has to date only issued a single license to the government-backed and owned TIPOS.
Even if the government were to open licensing to international casino operators, high taxes would make Slovakia an unattractive market. Act 171/2005 calls for 27% of “the difference between accepted bets and pay-offs” be paid to the state budget each year. Furthermore, the law states that licenses may only be granted to legal persons with a registered office on the territory of Slovakia.
The situation in Slovakia resembles that of many other countries that have yet to fully address online gambling. Although the law prohibits the licensing of international casino sites, the law does not prohibit players from visiting offshore casinos or even prevent those casino sites from advertising and accepting customers from Slovakia.
The government is aware of the situation but has yet to act. As far back as 2011, the Slovakian Association of Betting Companies estimated that unlicensed international operators were costing the government somewhere between €2.5 and €5 billion in lost revenue. Lawmakers at one point considered implementing internet censorship to block access to unlicensed online casinos in Slovakia, but dropped that effort amid outcry from the EU and freedom of information advocates.
That effort came about in 2011 when the finance minister proposed a revision of gambling laws that would raise taxes on all gambling activities and give tax office clerks the authority to place unlicensed casino websites on a blacklist that local internet service providers would be required to block. The bill was sent to the European Commission for comment in October of 2011. The EC firmly rejected the internet-blocking proposal but allowed the government to raise gambling taxes to their current rate of 27%.
To this day, the Slovakian government is missing out on millions of euros’ worth of tax revenues due to its failure to properly legislate online gambling. Lawmakers refuse to award licenses to anyone other than the state-owned TIPOS, yet they make no effort to stem the tide of international online gambling. In our opinion, the best solution would be to truly open the market to competition, issue licenses to foreign operators and implement a reasonable tax rate to encourage industry growth and increase government revenue.
The annual turnover of all gambling activities is estimated to exceed €880 million, which is considerable given the small population and restrictive licensing regulations. All evidence points to online gambling being a growth industry if favourable legislation is implemented.
In the meantime, gamblers have free access to foreign online casinos in Slovakia. Anyone connected to the internet can sign up, deposit and begin playing in minutes. To date, there is not one law on the books that makes it a crime to play real money casino games with unlicensed operators over the internet.