The gambling laws in Serbia are fairly relaxed, but at the same time, the government tries to control what few gambling venues there are in the country. Since 1979, for instance, all casino gambling in Serbia has been under government control. The country has had casinos since the mid 1960s, and most of them only offer slot machines. Casino gambling has yet to catch on as a big business in Serbia.
Other types of gambling in Serbia include a national lottery system, a handful of poker clubs, a major televised bingo style lottery game, and a loosely-organized sports betting industry with a few major players running most of the country’s betting shops. All gambling houses in Serbia operate under license of the Office of Games of Chance, which is part of the Ministry of Finance and Economy. While many venues operate unlicensed, such places often get shut down by the police.
Land based gambling
Casinos in Serbia
Casinos have only been around in Serbia for a few decades. The first Serbian casino was built in 1964. More were built over the next decade, but then in 1979, all casino gambling in Serbia was put under government control. Technically, casino style games are not permitted outside of casinos, but it seems the rule is not strictly enforced. Of the 17 casinos currently operating in Serbia, most are operated by a group called Club Slot Aleksander, and offer only slots and other game machines – table games are hard to find in Serbia.
Poker in Serbia
Poker in Serbia is growing in popularity, albeit at snail’s pace. Since 1979, all casinos and casino style gambling in Serbia has been under the control of the Serbian government. Part of this control is a prohibition on casino games outside of licensed casinos. Casinos in Serbia are few in number, and don’t always offer poker. Outside of casinos, a few poker venues exist, like the Texas Holdem Club in Novi Sad, which runs small tournaments for Serbian poker players. Aside from these few casinos and poker clubs, there are not many places to enjoy poker in Serbia.
Sports Betting in Serbia
While sports betting is popular in Serbia, the current state of the sportsbook industry sees a general lack of organization and regulation. There are only a few sports betting companies operating in the country that run the majority of Serbia’s high-street betting shops. The biggest Serbian sportsbook is Meridian, which runs several shops in Belgrade and in other areas. Much of Serbia’s sports betting industry remains underground, with bookies operating without a license.
Bingo in Serbia
Bingo in Serbia comes in the form of a large and very popular televised lottery-style game. It’s called TV Bingo, and it’s available on one of the largest national television channels in Serbia. The game is run by Narodna Lutrija, or the Serbian National Lottery. Each year, over 2 million TV Bingo tickets are sold. It is the most popular game in Serbia, and it pays over 50% of its revenue back in the form of prize money. TV Bingo is just one of many games offered by Narodna Lutrija.
Online Gambling in Serbia
There are no laws which specifically address online gambling in Serbia. At the same time, the government does not provide licenses which would allow Serbian companies to offer gambling services over the internet. Any Serbian gambling sites online today are either operating unlicensed, or are hosted in other parts of the world where such licenses are available.
Serbs wishing to gamble on the internet are free to use foreign online gambling websites. These sites, hosted in many parts of the world, offer a full range of online gambling services. While very few will offer Serbian language websites, many will allow Serbian players to join up and enjoy real-money online casino games, sports betting, and other forms of internet gambling.
Online Casinos in Serbia
Online gambling is not prohibited, but the Serbian government does not license companies to offer gambling services over the internet. Instead, Serbian players use foreign internet casinos for their online gambling needs. Because of the general lack of table games in Serbia, online casinos are an excellent way to enjoy playing everything from online blackjack to online roulette – all for real money. Since these online casinos are all run from other countries where Serbian laws don’t apply, they are immune to influence by the local government, and are free to offer their services to players in Serbia.
Online Poker in Serbia
Because of this lack of Serbian poker venues, online poker in Serbia has been steadily becoming more popular over the years. While Serbia has no proper internet poker rooms, there are plenty of large, multinational poker sites on the internet where Serbs can play. These sites are hosted in foreign countries, and since the Serbian government has no jurisdiction there, the sites are free to offer online poker games to Serb players. Such online poker sites will mostly be in English, but they will offer a full array of real-money poker games and tournaments.
Online Sports Betting in Serbia
A good alternative for Serbian players is to use online sportsbooks. Meridian, Serbia’s largest sportsbook operator, actually has their own online sportsbook hosted in Malta. Like most internet betting sites, its headquarters are overseas, far from the reach of the Serbian government. There are dozens of these online sportsbooks to choose from. Most will only offer English services, but they are the best way for Serbian players to bet on sports on the internet.
Online Bingo in Serbia
Serbian players who wish to enjoy more kinds of bingo can do so online. There are no internet bingo halls in Serbia, so players must use foreign online bingo websites. These bingo rooms don’t always accept players from Serbia, but there are hundreds of them on the web, and some of the biggest and best sites allow Serbian players to play online bingo games all day long.