How to Start a Gambling Business in Serbia: Your Quick Guide
If you’re considering entering the world of online gambling, Serbia could be the ideal destination due to its favorable licensing conditions, growing economy, and a population with a strong interest in gaming. In this guide, we’ll explore why Serbia is a promising market for operators looking to invest in the gambling industry.
Serbian Market Overview
Situated in the Balkans, the Republic of Serbia was formerly part of Yugoslavia until 1992 and later the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro until 2006. Presently, Serbia is a parliamentary republic working toward EU membership.
While Serbia is not yet an EU member, its economy is steadily improving. In recent years, the Serbian government has successfully implemented economic reforms, reducing unemployment rates and the budget deficit. With over 78% of its 6.9 million population using the internet, Serbia presents a significant online gaming market.
Historically, the only legal option for online casino gaming in Serbia was Victory, operated by the state-owned Serbian Lottery Company. However, it was closed in 2011 due to EU law violations. Currently, the Games of Chance Administration lists only 21 licensed online operators.
Gambling Regulation in Serbia
Gambling has been legal in Serbia since 2006, but the country’s aspiration to join the EU led to the development of more comprehensive gambling regulations. In 2011, online gambling was legalized, with detailed regulations introduced in 2013. Further amendments to the law were made in 2020, incorporating rules for advertising, responsible gaming, and anti-money laundering policies.
The Serbian Games of Chance Administration has published a rulebook outlining requirements for gambling advertisements, including restrictions on targeting minors and the inclusion of warnings about gambling addiction. Additionally, the latest amendment increased taxes, with online sports betting and lotteries taxed at 15%, and other special games of chance (casino games and slots) at 10%. Remarkably, 40% of government gambling revenue is allocated to the Red Cross.
Obtaining a gambling license in Serbia is a relatively straightforward process. Companies seeking a license must have a minimum share capital of €250,000, a bank deposit or guarantee of €300,000, and a daily risk cash deposit of €10,000. Land-based casino licenses cost €500,000 per year, while online casino licenses are priced at €2,500 per month. These licenses are valid for ten years, with no limit on the number of online casino licenses available.
However, land-based casino licenses are capped at ten and require public consultation before issuance. Both online and offline gambling establishments must be at least 100 meters apart and 200 meters from the nearest pedestrian path and educational institution. Additionally, companies must be registered in Serbia or any European Economic Area (EEA) country.
Serbians are prohibited from playing on offshore or unlicensed platforms. The government maintains an expanding blacklist of prohibited sites, although it does not actively pursue players who use them. Sports betting is highly favored in Serbia, aligning with the country’s passion for sports, particularly football and basketball.
With approximately 1,300 betting points across the nation, all operated by 20 companies offering online betting options, Serbia’s gaming industry is vibrant. The only horse racing company is a state monopoly held by The Konjicki Savez Srbije.
To embark on your gambling venture in Serbia, AK STATT recommends initiating a detailed consultation. Each project is unique, and understanding an operator’s specific goals and resources is essential for success. AK STATT’s team of lawyers assists clients in selecting the ideal market based on their project’s objectives and resources and guides them through the process of acquiring a gambling license.
Investing in the Serbian gambling market can be a lucrative opportunity for operators, given the favorable regulatory environment and the nation’s enthusiasm for gaming. With the right guidance and legal expertise, you can navigate the Serbian gambling landscape and establish a successful online gambling business.