Online gambling is one of the hottest topics, especially among government officials in various countries. While some have had the luxury of years of developing and altering their laws and legislation, others have not been so lucky.
Croatia is one of the countries that have had the least amount of time to form their gambling laws and legislation as well as structure when it comes to the regulation of these activities.
For players situated in the country it can be a mission to figure out what exactly is going on, and with so many online casinos popping up daily the best way to go is to find all the relevant information before taking part in the activity.
In this guide, we take a quick look at the history, laws and current news of the gambling laws and regulations within the country to help players find their feet and establish whether or not they can safely partake in any online gambling activities.
This country only gained its independence in 1991, and because of this, they’ve had less time than most countries to form laws on gambling. Slowly but surely they’ve managed to catch up, and are on the right track, and gambling has quickly become a favourite pastime for many citizens of the country.
It’s interesting to note that Croatia was one of the first countries in the Eastern Block which decided to legalise and regulate gambling back in the ’60s. After it gained independence, the gambling industry saw massive growth, especially among tourists visiting the country. It is for this very reason that you’ll find extremely large casino hotels located in the coastal areas of the country.
One of the first gambling activities that were legalised after the country gained independence was sports betting. The first two private companies to take advantage of the opportunity to open up shop were Sport Tip and Prva Sportska Kladionica. Unsurprisingly, they are now the leaders in the country’s bookmaking industry. Both land-based and online gambling is legal in the country, but there are various restrictions on the activity.
In 2014 the "Zakon o Igrama Na Srecu" gambling law was implemented. According to this piece of gambling legislation, online gambling operators are allowed to apply for an online gambling licence within the country. It is only with an online gambling licence provided by the state that they will be legally allowed to offer their games to players in the country. The law has been met with a lot of protest from operators, as they are forced to pay an HRK 3 000 000 fees, which roughly translates to $500,000. Most operators are upset with this unreasonably high cost of acquiring a licence within the country.
Online casino gambling is offered only by the state-run Hrvatska Lutrija and Prva Sportska Kladionica. Players can enjoy lottery, sports betting, horse and dog races, Keno and Bingo games on these sites. In an attempt to grow their online gaming portfolio Hrvatska Lutrija has recently partnered with Microgaming and Intralot Interactive.
Where Poker was formerly only allowed to be enjoyed in land-based casinos, it can now also be enjoyed online. However, anyone wishing to launch an online poker site has to apply for a special licence from the Minister of Finance.
While the new laws have opened the market up to foreign operators, the cost connected to it is quite high. In many instances, operators have chosen to rather leave the market or offer their services without first obtaining a licence. Unlike with France, the unlicensed operators aren’t as closely watched, which gives them “free reign” over players. Sites have not been blocked, but seeing Croatia falls a little behind on legislation surrounding online gambling, this could very soon become something of the past.
Gambling online is one of the best ways to entertain yourself without having to leave the house or interact with others if you’re not in the mood. One of the most important factors to take into account before you start spending your hard-earned money online is the taxation situation. It wouldn’t be fun to hit a massive jackpot win only to find out the government takes massive tax cuts from it.
In Croatia, this happens to be the case, as all gambling winnings are taxed. All winnings under 10,000 Kuna are taxed at 10%, winnings between 10,000 and 30,000 Kuna are taxed at 15%, and winnings of 30,000 Kuna or more are taxed at 20%. For players who hit massive wins of 500,000 Kuna or more there is a heavy tax of 30%. A slight light at the end of the tunnel is that the tax is collected at the source, which means the winning total that players receive will be “tax-free”, as the necessary tax has already been deducted.
For gambling operators, there are heavy taxes as well as steep licensing fees. This makes Croatia very unpopular among operators.
Online gambling has been legal in Croatia since 2014 for all players above 18. Unfortunately, with the heavy costs placed on operators, there are very few legal online casinos available to choose from.
At the current moment, it is not illegal for players to seek gambling entertainment on foreign sites that have not yet been legalized. There are also plenty of sites licensed in other jurisdictions that allow players from Croatia to access their games. As mentioned, as a player you will not be hunted down or punished for playing on these sites just yet.
Before you hurry to sign up at the first online casino you see, we’d suggest you take a look at the top-rated online casinos we’ve listed. These casinos are licensed in other jurisdictions and offer a safe, secure and responsible online gambling experience to Croatians.
Apart from being safe and secure these online casinos also offer the best and top casino bonuses and rewards, top-notch customer service, as well as a wide variety of online games to choose from.
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