The new Serbian Act on Games of Chance, adopted in March this year, is set to apply from 10 April 2020.
The novelties are not numerous, and conceptually the gambling activity is regulated in the same manner as in the outgoing legislation. The changes will affect the operators financially as the new legislation imposes stricter capital requirements, higher operation fees and higher deposit obligations, and provides for new technical requirements.
Minimum share capital requirements
The minimum share capital requirement for betting operators and slot machine operators is increased from EUR 150,000 to EUR 250,000. Moreover, the capital requirements for the operators pursuing or holding more than one license are cumulative, so that the combined operators will have to have minimum share capital at least equal to the sum of the minimum capital requirements for each license. For example, the minimum capital requirement for an operator pursuing or holding the licences for both online gambling and betting will be EUR 500,000 (EUR 250,000 for online gambling plus EUR 250,000 for betting).
Deposits and bank guarantees
The requirements for keeping security deposits or bank guarantees, the purpose of which is to secure payment of winnings to players and duties to the government, are now higher for certain types of licenses. Namely, the minimum amounts required are:
- for a betting license, EUR 5,000 per betting shop, capped at EUR 1,500,000;
- for a slot machine license, EUR 500 per slot machine, capped at EUR 1,000,000;
- for an online gambling license, EUR 300,000.
The deposit/guarantee requirements for casinos remain at EUR 300,000 per casino.
The monthly operation fees are increased in some cases, specifically: (i) the minimum operation fee per betting shop is increased from EUR 500 to EUR 550, (ii) the operation fee per slot machine is increased from 5% of the gross gaming revenue (GGR) to 10%, with the minimum fee amount increased from EUR 35 to EUR 40, and (iii) the operation fee for online gambling is increased from 5% to 10% of GGR for the online games other than betting (the 15% rate for online betting remains the same), with the minimum fee being increased from EUR 7,500 to EUR 10,000.
IT communication system and video surveillance
Operators of games of chance, other than casino operators, are obliged to install IT communication system which allows for data storage and data exchange between the operator and the Serbian Games of Chance Authority. The system must be compliant with the technical requirements provided for by the Minster of Finance, and the compliance must be verified by an entity authorized by the Ministry of Finance.
Non-stop video surveillance of the premises where the games of chance are organized is already been mandatory for casinos. The new legislation extends this obligation to betting shops and slot machine venues as well.
The operators must satisfy the new requirements in terms of the share capital, deposits or bank guarantees and the IT communication system and video surveillance, within 15 months from the commencement of application of the new legislation, that is until 10 July 2021.
The legislation imposing a minimum distance of 100 meters between any betting shop, slot machine venue, or casino. This does not apply to the venues which obtained license prior to 10 April 2020.
Advertisements of games of chance must contain appropriate warning on prevention of gambling addiction. This warning complements the already mandatory warning on prohibition of underage gambling.