by Kajetan Sawicz

Slovak Betting Surges to €21.4 Billion in 2023 with Online Market Leading the Way

In an unprecedented surge, the Slovak gambling market witnessed a staggering €21.4 billion in bets placed throughout 2023, as unveiled in a recent press briefing by the country’s Regulation of Gambling Games. This remarkable figure underscores a significant shift in betting preferences among Slovaks, with the online sector taking center stage.

Online Betting Dominates the Scene

The online betting sphere has emerged as the preferred choice for the majority of Slovak bettors, capturing 90% of the gambling market. This preference starkly contrasts with number lotteries, where only 14% of bets are made online, indicating a sustained tradition of playing the lottery at physical venues. The online market’s contributions were notably impactful, with €93 million of the total state contributions coming from online levies.

State Contributions and Tax Implications

The total contributions to the state from gambling activities saw a year-on-year increase of over €50 million, totaling more than €301 million. Fixed-odds bets and land-based casinos were also significant contributors, bringing in €80.48 million and €61.9 million respectively.

The tax structure for gambling in Slovakia differentiates between online and land-based operations, with online fixed-odds betting and casino operators taxed at 22% of their gross gaming revenue (GGR), while land-based entities face varying tax rates based on turnover and GGR.

The Future of Land-Based Casinos

Despite the robust performance of land-based casinos in 2023, future projections indicate a potential decline in contributions by up to 22% by 2025 due to restrictive policies by certain municipalities. Local authorities possess the discretion to regulate, or even ban, gambling operations within their jurisdictions, posing a significant challenge to the land-based sector’s growth.

Martin Bohoš, the director general of the Slovak gambling regulator, expressed concerns over the lack of attention given to the national gambling agenda by Slovak cities and municipalities. This critique highlights the need for greater involvement and coherent strategies at the municipal level to address gambling regulations effectively.

Our Comment on the Article

The remarkable growth of Slovakia’s gambling market in 2023, particularly within the online sector, reflects broader trends in the global iGaming industry, where digital platforms are increasingly becoming the preferred medium for bettors. However, the anticipated decline in contributions from land-based casinos due to municipal restrictions underscores the complexities of balancing regulatory frameworks with market dynamics. As Slovakia navigates these challenges, the call for more engaged municipal participation in gambling regulation is a crucial step towards a more harmonized approach to managing and fostering a responsible gambling environment.

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