Slovakian law treats online gambling and real-world gambling differently. Betting at brick-and-mortar casinos has been legal since the end of Soviet rule. Today there are more than 20 licensed casinos and gambling halls across Slovakia.
Slovakian betting sites are legal in theory, but the government has yet to issue licenses for any operators other than the national lottery and one local bookmaker. Despite this, online gambling is widespread in Slovakia due to there being no restrictions against playing at foreign operators. All of the world’s largest betting websites accept customers from Slovakia and most offer their services in the Slovakian language.
Best Betting Sites in Slovakia
The one good thing about the current legal situation in Slovakia is that it leaves the door open for playing online at foreign websites. Unlike some other countries, Slovakia does not attempt to restrict access to unlicensed sites or prevent financial transactions to those sites. Thus, you’re free to play wherever you want.
As nice as it is to have so many options, some caution is warranted. The gambling laws of the world vary greatly from one country to the next. Some countries give licenses to betting websites but offer few player protections. Other countries closely monitor gaming websites to ensure fairness, true randomness and prompt payment of winners.
What you see above is a list of betting websites located in nations with stringent licensing standards. These are mostly UK-based sites that have been online since for a decade or more. Over all that time, they have operated in good faith providing players with truly random games and quick payouts.
Is it Safe to Bet Online in Slovakia?
Yes, but only if you always stick with well-known, reputable gambling sites. The relaxed gaming laws of Slovakia mean you can play at hundreds of betting sites with varying levels of quality. This is why I stress always doing business with sites that have licenses from respected regulatory authorities.
If it helps put your mind at ease, remember that not all countries ban online gambling. Some countries have embraced it as a legitimate industry complete with tax codes, licensing requirements and regular audits of the games they have on offer. Betting at any of the sites found on this page is as safe as walking down to the local casino and placing a bet in person.
Slovakian Gambling Laws
The primary source for gaming laws in Slovakia is the country’s Gambling Act of 2005. This piece of legislation addresses all aspects of gambling ranging from the national lottery to the issuance of online licenses. Its primary goals are to define the rights and duties of operators and players, oversee gaming equipment, regulate the national lottery and supervise the day-to-day operations of gambling activities throughout the country.
Gambling in Slovakia is regulated by the Ministry of Finance’s gambling committee. The ministry is responsible for enforcing gaming laws, overseeing the industry and issuing licenses to qualified bookmakers. Although the ministry has the authority to issue licenses, it is quite conservative in doing so.
The Ministry of Finance does not issue licenses to privately-owned online casinos or poker sites, but it has authorized the national lottery to offer limited forms of internet betting. The only licensed online bookmaker in the country is Tipsport, which is a Czech-owned entity authorized to offer sports wagers to Slovakians.
Parimutuel wagering on horses and greyhounds is legal in Slovakia although the racing industry is fairly small. The country’s largest racetrack is the Zavodisko Bratislava racetrack.
For a period in 2011, the government mulled over passing new legislation to block online access to unlicensed gaming sites, but that effort ultimately stalled in the face of European Union pressure.
The Slovakian government amended its gaming laws in 2016 to require international sports betting sites to apply for local licenses and submit to a 27% tax on gross gaming revenue. Many operators pulled out of the market at that time, but plenty of others decided to stay despite being unlicensed.
In 2017, the Slovakian government created a blacklist to begin blocking access to unauthorized sports betting sites doing business with Slovakian customers. In July of 2017, the Slovakian government published a list of blocked websites and sent notices to 17 operators demanding they cease operations in Slovakia. William Hill, 888 and Bwin were among those sites caught up in the blacklist.