EUROPE POKER LAW INDEX

Slovakia Poker Laws

slovakiaGambling used to be illegal in Slovakia back when they were part of Soviet controlled Czechoslovakia, but once they broke off and formed their own country in 1992, gambling became fully legal and has been ever since.

Gambling is wide open in Slovakia and is very easy to access, with 21 different casinos spread around the country, in addition to hundreds of betting shops, and many more establishments offering slot machines, which are found pretty much everywhere you look in this country. (1)

So there’s no doubt that Slovakians love to gamble and gambling is literally everywhere in this country. All you have to do is imagine what gambling would look like if it weren’t regulated at all and this is what you would end up with, a very vibrant and ubiquitous gambling presence and accessibility.

As popular as land based gambling is in this country, there still is only a very limited amount of places you can play live poker, with only 4 poker rooms in the country, with a total of only 10 poker tables. (2) So needless to say live poker isn’t very popular at all here, and while players who really want to play live poker can still find a game, there simply aren’t many places around to play it.

As easy as it is for Slovakian companies to offer land based gambling, they are not permitted under Slovakian law to offer it online without a license, so as permissive as Slovakia is toward gambling in general, this has not extended to online gambling, and there has been a movement to oppose the widespread access its residents have to foreign sites by looking to create a blacklist and block access as is done in several other countries.

However, what happened here is that the Slovakian government submitted these plans to the EU for approval, which seems fantastic given that the EU so strongly opposes these trade restrictions that they fight incessantly against countries that have such restrictions, and they not only prefer but demand an open market for online gambling across EU member states. (3)

The Slovakian government fairly quickly came to their senses here, as there was no chance of such a proposal being approved by the EU, who would certainly have soundly rejected it, and after the voicing of views from other EU member states pointing out how much in opposition this idea was to EU principles of free trade, Slovakia ended up withdrawing the proposal and abandoning the idea.

 

The Current Landscape of Poker In Slovakia

So Slovakians are of course free to play as much land based poker as they wish, although once again there are a very limited number of places in the country that you can do this at.

There are no licensed online poker sites in Slovakia and there is only one licensed gambling site which is a Slovakian bookmaker which is permitted to offer sports betting online to Slovakians. (4)

There are actually no laws against Slovakians gambling online wherever they want, and the only attempt at regulation that the Slovakian government even has contemplated was the idea of putting together a licensing structure and then blacklist sites without a license, but that idea was scrapped prior to it ever being implemented.

So they do license or seek to license their domestic online gambling sites but do not attempt to do so as far as foreign online sites go, which is in compliance with EU rules.

So the EU does allow free commerce across member states and in fact is fighting hard in several countries to get these countries to comply with that, and what is being promoted is either free access or the setting up of licensing schemes that do not restrain companies licensed in the EU from fully participating.

So the Slovakian government isn’t even willing to consider coming up with such a scheme right now and has chosen an entirely hands off approach instead, resulting in the great situation where Slovakians can play wherever they want without fear of any government restrictions whatsoever, whether that be on paper or in practice.

So all online gambling sites, including online poker sites, offer access to Slovakians and indeed welcome them with open arms, and many offer play in their native language as well.

There are also no restrictions or interference with financial transactions, and you can even move money to and from poker sites right from your Slovakian bank accounts, in addition to any other funding and withdrawal options that you may have access to and that a particular online poker room accepts.

As far as if and when Slovakia will try harder to license online gambling, this is a country which is as easy going toward gambling as you will see, and they are particularly concerned about running afoul of EU trading guidelines and requirements, which is something that more countries should pay attention to and all countries are likely to be made to fully comply with in the years to come, whether they like it or not.

For the present time though things are as good as they could possibly get for Slovakian online poker players, and the growth of the market in Slovakia continues on unimpeded. There’s no reason to think that this will change at all in the near future, and Slovakians are indeed fortunate enough to live in a country where the government does not see gambling as an evil and therefore looks to restrict it, it is firmly entrenched in Slovakian culture these days and likely will remain so.

In time the government may look toward potential tax revenues being missed out on, especially seeing more and more of their neighbors wrestle with regulation of online gambling, some more successfully than others of course, but just about all chasing the tax dollars that are at least out there potentially.

While we wait for that to possibly happen some day, things are pretty nice indeed right now in Slovakia as far as online poker goes, and players certainly are in no hurry to see any changes made.

 

References:

(1) Online Gambling Sites in Slovakia

(2) Slovakia Poker Rooms

(3) Slovakia Looks To Change Rules

(4) Online Gambling in Slovakia

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