Croatia has reasonable gaming laws that allow residents to play real money games online without fear of prosecution or other harassment. As long as you’re 18 years of age or older, you’re free to play at either government-sponsored Croatian betting sites or foreign websites based out of other jurisdictions. Getting started is a simple matter of choosing a site and signing up for an account.
All the major international and European gaming websites accept Croatian signups. Most do not accept kuna deposits but you can still deposit with an e-wallet to have your deposit automatically exchanged into euros, British pounds or US dollars. As nice as it is to play at local government-run sites, I’ve found that the international brands tend to offer greater game selection, more lucrative promotions and better all-around quality.
Best Croatian Betting Sites
These betting sites do not hold Croatian gaming licenses but they are licensed by other European jurisdictions. If safety is one of your primary concerns, you can take comfort knowing that these are all upstanding, professional gaming companies.
Gambling Laws of Croatia
Croatia’s current internet gambling laws went into effect in 2010 with the passage of the Ordinance on Interactive Online Casino Gaming (English text on page 62). This law specifies who can offer games over the internet and what is expected of online operators. There are only a few local operators as any company wishing to offer remote gaming in Croatia must own a land-based casino or betting operation.
The national lottery of Croatia, Hrvatska Lutrija, runs the biggest gaming site based in the country. Hrvatska Lutrija offers a variety of games on its website including table games, slots, poker and bingo. One of the other major Croatian gaming sites is operated by Hattrick Sports Group (HSG). HSG is based out of Ireland but was able to enter the Croatian market after purchasing Prva Sportska Kladionica. Their betting site is located at www.psk.hr.
Operators with a license to offer remote gaming must meet a set of quality standards laid forth by the Ordinance. These include verifying players are at least 18, storing players’ money separate from the casino’s operating funds and allowing customers to set their own deposit limits. The legislation also requires sites to offer certain types of withdrawals, publish the rules of every game and submit to government audits and compliance tests.
Overall, the regulated market in Croatia is well-run. Player protections are strong and the government seems intent on keeping everything fair for the players. The only shortcoming is the difficulty in getting a license in the first place. If it wasn’t for that one catch, Croatia could easily become a powerhouse in the European gaming industry.
Croatians are also able to play at foreign-based gaming sites. Unlike some other regulated countries, Croatia does not try to prohibit its citizens from playing elsewhere. There are no criminal laws against playing at offshore sites and the government makes no attempt to censor the internet.
It’s worth taking a look at these other options because Croatia itself doesn’t offer many alternatives. The wider European market features hundreds of competing bookmakers, online casinos and poker sites. You can play poker with people from around the world, participate in massive tournaments and take advantage of a whole variety of promotions.
If you decide to try a foreign site, make sure it is licensed by a respectable jurisdiction. Any site licensed in the UK, Gibraltar or the Isle of Man is generally a safe choice. Each of those jurisdictions has stringent licensing requirements and is home to some of the biggest gambling sites in the world.
Depositing and Withdrawing with Kunas
The Croatian kuna is supported by domestic gaming sites run by the national lottery and other authorized operators. You can sign up for an account at any of those sites to deposit, play and withdraw in kunas.
Offshore gaming sites don’t typically support the kuna but there are other options. If you use an e-wallet such as Neteller, Skrill or Click2Pay, you can have your deposits converted into EUR, GBP or USD. If you win money, that other currency will be exchanged back into kunas when you withdraw.
It’s a bit of a pain dealing with currency conversions but there is some upside. A willingness to play in euros will give you access to a much larger pool of players in multi-player games such as bingo and poker. The more players there are, the easier it is to find games and make more money.