Slovakia has issued an inaugural blacklist of banned online sportsbetting operators after last year passing amended legislation that requires all firms to first obtain a local license before offering their services to players in the Eastern European nation.
The controversial register features ten names and includes such giants as William Hill, Bwin and Bet365 while the Finance Ministry revealed that it had also issued warnings to 17 other online operators asking them to terminate all of their local services within ten days.
The blacklist additionally includes 888 Holdings, Bet-At-Home, 1xBet and Curacao-licensed EatSleepBet along with Maltese license holders LVBet and Kajot-Casino while firms that continue to provide their services to Slovakia residents without authorization could now be subject to fines of up to $576,600.
Under the 2016 amended online gaming legislation, all operators that wish to offer their services to punters in Slovakia must agree to a 27% tax on gross gaming revenues while the measure moreover designated the state-owned Tipos lottery organization as the sole firm authorized to offer online casino and poker games.
Although access to the blacklisted firms’ domains from inside Slovakia has yet to be officially blocked, the Finance Ministry explained that, in the absence of voluntary withdrawal, it intends seek court orders against specific sites in the coming weeks, which prompted criticism from local Internet service providers concerning how they will fund this extra work.
The blacklist’s introduction follows a late-March decision from officials in Bratislava, which is Slovakia’s capital and largest city, to ban all land-based gambling from the first day of May although current license holders are to be permitted to continue operating until their existing authorizations expire. This contentious measure means that the municipality’s 432,000 residents will not have access to a local casino after the license for the Banco Casino inside the Crowne Plaza hotel expires in 2021.