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Betting in Serbia

Published on: 07/02/2016

In 1964, gambling was made legal in Serbia (which was part of Yugoslavia) and the first casino appeared in Belgrade. By 1979, Casinos were being controlled by the government. Gambling activity is still permitted today, regardless of the country’s unsettled politics. Yugoslavia consisted of six republics until the 1990s, at which point, independent countries were formed. In 2003, Montenegro and Serbia created a federation an alliance union which continued for three years when they separated. In 2008, Kosovo claimed independence from Serbia; however its official status has yet to be resolved.

The Serbian Ministry of Finance and Economy has a department known as the Games of Chance Administration (GCA). The body is responsible for granting all gambling licences in the country. All gambling ventures must be registered to the GCA computer system. The Narodna Lutrija (Serbia’s National Lottery) also offers TV Bingo, which has become highly successful, selling more than two million tickets every year. The National Lottery is also managed by the GCA.

Currently, there around 20 casinos in Serbia, 15 of which are also slot clubs, managed in Belgrade by the Aleksandar Company. Between them, they offer over one thousand games machines, and provide jobs for several hundred people.

There is only one Casino present outside of the capital - the King Casino in Prishtina. The venue offers 50 slot machines as well as poker and table games for punters aged 18 and over.

Sports betting throughout Serbia is very popular - however, there is a distinct absence of rules and regulations. There are only a handful of bookies throughout the nation, running the popular high street venues.

Meridian Group is Serbia’s main gambling company; it manages establishments in Belgrade as well as other locations. Meridian Gaming is a small division of the Meridian Group and controls betting web sites under the Meridianbet and Meridianslots brand names. Since 2008, their services have been under the supervision of the Lotteries and Gaming Authority, based in Malta.

Currently, gambling via the internet is allowed in Serbia, and hundreds of English-language online sportsbooks welcome play from the Serbian citizens including some well-known companies such as:

Serbia’s national currency is the Dinar. However many gambling web sites accept the Euro. Visa Credit is affiliated with more than 2,000 gaming sites that welcome punters with a Serbian address, including a few that offer support in the Serbian language. MasterCard lists 1,700 gambling web sites on offer to Serbians in the English language, and a few more available in the Serbian language.

Gambling taxes imposed by the Serbian government generate a reliable input of revenue. Nevertheless, a vast amount of unregulated gambling activity continues to operate. In 2011, hundreds of Serbian police carried out raids throughout the nation, targeting over three hundred unlawful gambling rackets. In total, 17 people were arrested.

The Prosecutor in charge said that the country had lost millions of Euros in unpaid taxes due to the arrested individuals. Five of the people caught were in fact senior gambling inspectors within the Department of Gambling & Sports Betting. They claimed to have been paid off to ignore the illegal activities.