Located in central Europe, the Republic of Slovenia is one of the 13 countries that inhabit the Balkan Peninsula. As a country, Slovenia has a considerably small total land area of 7,827 sq mi. However, Slovenia offers a fascinating scene for players to relish various gambling activities.
Below is a list of all casinos currently operating in the regions of Slovenia.
Aurora, Casinò and Cabaret
Casino Bernardin Portorose
Casino Bled – Park Hotel
Casino Faraon – Hotel Faraon
Casino Hotel Carnevale Wellness & Spa
Casino Joker Maribor
Casino Lev Igralni Salon
Casino Princess Nova Gorica
Casino Rio – Igralni Salon
Casino Rio Central – Igralni Salon
Casino Riviera Grand Hotel Portoroz
Casino Tivoli Lesce
Casinò Fontana – Donat Hotel
Castra Casino – Casino & Hotel Ajdovščina
Gold Club Casino
Grand Casino Lido
Grand Casino Lipica
Grand Casino Portorož
Hotel & Casino Poetovio
Hotel Restaurant & Casinò Resort Admiral
Kongo Hotel and Casino
Korona, Casinò and Hotel
Mond, Casinò and Cabaret
Nova Gorica Princess Casino
Park, Casinò and Hotel
Perla, Casinò and Hotel
Royal Media Ljubljana Hotel & Casino
Safir Casino and Hotel
Slovenia has a stable and successful gambling industry. During the period as part of Yugoslavia, gambling became a legal, licensed and regulated activity; this was sometime in the 1960s. At the time, gambling was a restricted means for the government to raise funds for social and charitable purposes.
The first casino in Slovenia—Grand Casino Portorož—was established in 1913 as Casino Portorož d.d. was given the very first permission to operate gambling activities. During this time, the casino operated only to stimulate social life in Portorož. In 1924, Casino Bled opened as the second casino in Slovenia.
Prior to the second casino, the First World War had already begun, which later introduced a blanket ban on gambling because Yugoslavia was a socialist state during the First and Second World Wars. Hence, Grand Casino Portorož and Casino Bled had to limit their operations (the latter operated only in 1924 and 1937). Around the same time, the National Lottery was established to raise funds for public uses and to develop the society. While casinos were struggling to carry out operations, the lottery—being operated by the government—operated with more easy-going laws and restrictions.
This continued until the ban was eventually revoked in 1962 with the Basic State Law of Gambling, and gambling was declared legal. What prompted the legalization was a need for global recognition, foreign currency, and to encourage tourism in Yugoslavia. After three years, the Republic of Slovenia introduced its own legal gambling with no written document. Casino Portorož d.d. and Casino Bled d.d. were issued casino concessions and their respective establishments reopened in 1965.
However, the casinos—as proposed by the Tourist Institute of Portorož and the Municipal Assembly of Piran—were built solely to entertain foreigners as locals were not allowed to gamble due to the political theory in use. Also, the requirements were outrageously high: casinos could only be operated in specific, major cities by facilities with 1,000 or more beds and they must have at least 200,000 overnight stays by non-native visitors per year.
Due to the requirements, the two casinos were the only licensed gambling facilities in Slovenia for approximately two decades. But since 1984, many casinos and other gambling facilities have emerged across different areas in the country.
Meanwhile, the Slovenian gambling laws were an impression of the French gambling laws as only wealthy foreigners, especially those from elite circles, were allowed to gamble in a casino. Taxes were considerably low and revenues were used to develop and promote the tourism industry and infrastructures.
The year 1985 welcomed a brand new company into the Slovenian gambling industry, which moved the industry from its initial pseudo-monopoly. The Hit Group was the first casino (and overall hospitality) chain in Slovenia. Its first casino opened in Nova Gorica in 1984 with America-style games and modus operandi—and by 1993, the group already had five casinos. On October 9, 1990, it was registered with the Nova Gorica District Court … and today, the company owns and operates 17 establishments.
As of 1993, there were a total of 10 casinos in Slovenia: the initial two, five by the Hit Group, and three more by other companies. With such variety comes a widened range of visitors, and that was what strengthen the gambling industry. Wealthy locals were beginning to relish casino games and visitors from nearby countries grew exponentially. Hence, revenues increased and a serious global recognition of the Slovenian casino market followed suit.
Soon, the taxation rates spiked—but the market was huge enough to attract more operators. While all was going well for the country and its gambling industry, the Yugoslav Wars (1991 – 2001)—which dissolved Yugoslavia into Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia and Montenegro (formerly, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)—suddenly became a series of ruinous occurrences. The country had to transition from socialism to capitalism; economy stumbled as foreign competition escalated and the country was lacking a good amount of foreign investments.
To counteract, Slovenia adopted a strategy, which later proved anti-yielding. As reports stated a decline of up to $500 million in gambling revenues in the 1990s, the solution was to make gambling part of the tourism industry and use it to develop the industry. The authorities provided certain classifications. First, there would be two types of facilities: casinos (a maximum of 14) and slot halls with 100 or fewer slot machines (a maximum of 20). Casinos were divided into three: casino-entertainment complexes (primarily operated as casinos), casinos in tourist resorts (operated as amenities to accompany other tourist services), and casinos in larger cities (open to foreigners and citizens).
Additionally, taxation rates grew to a whopping 50 percent; this left many operators dispirited. But the worst part was how the taxes—which were intended to boost government funds and develop the tourism scene—were mismanaged. This left many communities with little funds compared to the ones projected; in fact, some communities received nothing. All these setbacks created a despondent gambling climate as operators and communities started to lose interest. However, the gambling industry shortly managed to rebound and grow larger.
Fast forward to today, gambling is still governed by the Slovenian Ministry of Tourism while the Slovenian Ministry of Finance deals with gambling taxes and supervises all gambling activities and facilities via the State Office for Gaming Supervision. Pertaining legality, the first Gambling Act was passed in 1995; it was later amended in October of 2001 and 2003. There are some important and interesting points to note in the Gambling Act.
For one, the maximum number of concessionaires is 15 for casinos and 45 for slot halls. Legal forms of gambling are lotteries (lotto games, quiz drawings, bingo games, raffles, etc.), sports betting (betting shops and sports forecasts), and casino games (dice, cards, balls, machines, boards, etc.) While slot halls have a limit of 100 gaming machines, casinos can install as many machines as desired.
Also, Slovenia uses a concession system instead of the typical licensing system. Casino concessionaires must be joint-stock companies based in the Republic of Slovenia—and to be issued a concession, an aspiring casino concessionaire must possess a starting capital of nothing less than SIT 100 million for a single concession. So, if a company wants to operate three casinos, it needs to have SIT 300 million or more.
Casino concessionaires are required to pay 2.2 percent for organizing sporting events, 2.2 percent to organizations for disabled individuals, and 50 percent—after deducting the two percentages—for tourism development and promotion. They also have to pay 50 percent of their starting capital as a security bond—either instantly or anytime within a period of three years.
For games, gaming machines with a monthly earning of SIT 25 million or less pay five percent. Machines that earn between SIT 25 and 55 million pay 10 percent and SIT 1.25 million while machines that earn between SIT 55 and 100 million pay 15 percent and SIT 4.25 million. Lastly, machines with more than SIT 100 million of monthly earnings pay 20 percent and SIT 11 million. On the other hand, table games pay a standard rate of five percent.
For security, every casino must have a functional security system with audio and visual support. Additionally, earlier laws like the outrageous requirements and restriction of locals were finally abolished.
When all is said and done, Slovenia’s gambling industry has managed to flourish despite certain setbacks. Today, there are dozens of casinos and hundreds of slot halls (gambling houses, slot rooms, or gaming clubs) in Slovenia.
A draft amendment to the Gaming Act, titled the New Gambling Act (or the New Gaming Act), was later initiated by the Slovenian Parliament (Slovenski parliament). If passed, the draft amendment would establish a number of developments; these include the regulation of online gambling that would result in an ISP ban on unlicensed gambling websites in addition to specific fines.
Besides, the requirement of online gambling operators to be based in Slovenia would be lifted as online gambling is only permitted by operators with a land-based concession or with a registered business and office in Slovenia. Reportedly, the draft amendment was later passed and was forwarded to the European Commission on February 26, 2016. It is believed to come into effect in 2018—but as of May 2018, the law is still ineffective.
Presently, there are 42 licensed casinos in Slovenia, which is a surprising growth considering there were only 13 casinos in April 2017. And as stated earlier, casino gambling, sports betting, and lotteries are the legal forms of gambling as specified in the Gambling Act. Casino gambling stands alone as ‘popular games of chance‘ while sports betting and lotteries are classified as ‘classical games of chance.’
Further, gambling facilities and activities are licensed and regulated by the Financial Administration under the Ministry of Finance. Supervision is handled by the State Office for Gaming Supervision.
And about the gambling climate, foreign players can expect to enjoy one of the most pleasant atmospheres in Europe. Slovenian casinos (and even slot halls) mix luxe gaming experience with thrilling excitement. In addition, extra services are often provided; these include dining, concerts, and sports events.
Ultimately, Slovenia has a warm gambling environment where locals and foreigners savor a wide range of gaming machines and tables. Meanwhile, casinos are mostly patronized by foreigners because most Slovenians visit slot halls.
Slovenian is the official language while English, Hungarian, and Italian have a reasonable number of speakers … and the only official currency is Euro.
In Slovenia, casinos are evenly spread throughout the regions and areas. Even Ljubljana, the capital city, features only four casinos out of the 42 casinos. Sežana, Portorož, Nova Gorica, Izola, and Kranjska Gora are other cities with more than one casinos. Bled, Šempeter pri Gorici, Čatež ob Savi, Rogaška Slatina, Rogaška Slatina, Ptuj, Radenci, Lesce, Kranj, Kozina, Kocevje, Grosuplje, Kobarid, Brezice, Catez Spa, Ajdovšcina, Celje, Dobrovo v Brdih, Žalec, Volcja Draga, Maribor, and Šentilj v Slovenskih Goricah separately put a lone casino forward.
Perla, Casinò, and Hotel in Nova Gorica is the flagship Slovenian casino, which offers an enormous range of varieties with precisely 946 gaming machines (31 Privé Slots) and 90 gaming tables. Park, Casinò and Hotel comes second with exactly 789 gaming machines (28 Privé Slots; 88 at the Open Air Casino and 701 the ground casino floor), 37 gaming tables, and the SUPERBINGO.
The third largest casino is Korona, Casinò & Hotel, with 380 gaming machines (24 at the Open Air Casino and 356 on the ground casino floor), 18 gaming tables, the SUPERBINGO, and a poker room. Other colossal casinos with more than 100 gaming machines are Grand Casino Lipica, Grand Casino Portorož, Kongo Hotel and Casino, Casino Lev Igralni Salon, Casino Bernardin Portorose, Casino Riviera Grand Hotel Portoroz, Casino Rio – Igralni Salon, Casino Rio – Igralni Salon, and Princess Casino.
First, casinos in Slovenia are often more than just casinos; most are either part of larger hotels—with luxe rooms and suites, elegant restaurants, lounges, bars, and more—or large casinos with extra services like hotel accommodations, dining, and nightlife spots. And those without such provisions are situated near significant hotels, resorts, restaurants, wellness centers, bars, cafés, clubs, and/or wine bars.
Slovenian casinos have a lot of varieties in store; these usually include Slot Machines, Blackjack, Double Deck Blackjack, Bingo, Bonanza Bingo, Progressive Draw Poker, Classic Punto Banco, Punto Banco, Cinquina, Super Bingo, Chemin de Fer, Mini Punto Banco, French Roulette, American Roulette, Super Punto Banco, Electronic Roulette, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, and House Money Blackjack.
And apart from casinos, there are hundreds of slot halls in Slovenia with 100 or fewer gaming machines and a small number of table games—if any. On the other hand, there are no bingo halls in Slovenia as bingo games are typically available in the casino and provided by the Loterija Slovenije.
Lottery games are solely organized by the state-owned Loterija Slovenije (National Lottery) while the state-owned Športna Loterija exclusively operates sports betting. Loterija Slovenije have several lottery games in operation (e.g. Hip, Deteljica, Izredna srecka, Ekspres, Kviz srecka, EuroJackpot, Loto, Astro, 3X3 Plus 6, and Super Loto) and there is a total number of 1,092 lottery outlets (835 dedicated outlets and 257 sales outlets with instant tickets) spread across the country. Similarly, Športna Loterija has hundreds of betting shops practically on every street and offers virtual sports via the Inspired Gaming software.
However, Športna Loterija do not offer horse or greyhound racing and there are no racetracks or racinos; so, land-based horse and greyhound racing are nonexistent in Slovenia. In contrast, players can visit offshore websites; hence, online horse and greyhound racing are available.
Lastly, online gambling is technically legal in Slovenia but semi-monitored. Licensed concessionaires are allowed to offer casino games online, but only Loterija Slovenije d.d. (loterija.si) and Športna Loterija d.d. (e-stave.com) are allowed to operate lottery games and sports betting online respectively. Most of the online casinos offer a wide range of slot games with jackpots, generous bonuses, and loyalty programmes. Meanwhile, offshore gambling websites are not allowed but Slovenian players can visit them without any penalty.
– In Slovenian casinos, entrance is permitted only for players who are at least 18 years old. Valid government-issued photo ID is also required (passport for foreigners).
– Slovenia stopped using SIT (Slovenian Tolar) on January 1, 2007, as Euro was adopted—but the Gambling Act still states SIT instead of EUR.
– In 2000, only three in 20 Slovenians had access to the Internet. Fast forward to 2014, the rate spiked to 11 in 20 Slovenians. Based on estimations, the rate would be 13 in 20 Slovenians in 2021.
– In 2006, the Ministry of Finance ordered Slovenian ISPs to block Bet-At-Home.com and Bwin.com, but the majority turned deaf ears. In 2012, the Slovenian government started blocking websites; however, most websites are open to Slovenian players today.
– The greater percentage of players in Slovenian casinos are foreigners—especially Austrians, Germans, and Italians.
– Hotel & Casinò Resort ADMIRAL is the operator of five casinos in Slovenia: Hotel Restaurant & Casinò Resort Admiral, Hotel & Casino Poetovio, Casino Joker Maribor, Casino Tivoli Lesce, and Casino Hotel Carnevale Wellness & Spa. And the brand is part of the NOVOMATIC Group—an international gambling company with establishments in more than 50 countries.
– The Hit Group operates eight casinos: Perla, Casinò and Hotel; Park, Casinò and Hotel; Korona, Casinò and Hotel; Mond, Casinò and Cabaret; Casinò Fontana – Donat Hotel; Casinò Drive-In; Aurora, Casinò, and Cabaret; and Casinò Larix. In total, the company—registered HIT hoteli, igralnice, turizem, d. d., Nova Gorica—operates more than 3,200 gaming machines and 200 gaming tables in Slovenia. According to the most recent consolidated annual report (2014), the company have roughly €160 million gross gaming revenues, €210 million total assets, and 2,100 employees. Some casinos of the Hit Group have an Open Air Casino, which is an outdoor casino located within the establishment. Lastly, they offer Privé Slots; these are slot machines for high rollers with wagers of up to €600. There are with Privé Tables as well, which are also for high rollers.
– Casino Portorož—registered CASINÒ Portorož, d. d., prirejanje posebnih iger na srečo—operates four casinos: Casino Bernardin Portorose, Casino Riviera Grand Hotel Portoroz, Grand Casino Lipica, and Grand Casino Portorož. Also, the company offers online casino gambling at Casino.si with slot, video poker, table, and card games. As of December 31, 2014, the company had a founding capital of €4.1 million.
– With almost one thousand gaming machines, Perla, Casinò, and Hotel is one of largest casinos in the entire European continent.
– In 1972, Grand Casino Portorož was moved from its original position, Hotel Palace, to Hotel Metropol, which is its current position.
– Casino Bled has had different locations: Jelovica Hotel, Golf Hotel, and Park Hotel (which is its current location).
– There are more than 180 gambling websites for Slovenian players.
– On data processing and protection, a draft bill of the PDPA (Personal Data Protection Act) was created in order to substitute the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) that is in the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia. The Ministry of Justice reviewed the draft bill on October 4, 2017, and it is expected to come into effect anytime soon.
– Accumulating roughly 1,440 data points, the European Casino Association (ECA) published the Annual Report of 2016 in September 2017, in which Slovenia saw an increase of about 11 percent. With a growth of more than 20 percent, Latvia was the only country ahead of Slovenia. Even the United Kingdom had a decline of more than 15 percent.
– Both Loterija Slovenije d.d. and Športna Loterija d.d. are members of the European State Lotteries and Toto Association.
– In January 2018, a member of the SMC (Stranka Modernega Centra, i.e. Modern Centre Party) called Branko Zorman proposed an end to Loterija Slovenije and Športna Loterija’s monopoly as a way to garner more funds for humanitarian and sports firms in Slovenia. Zorman projected €13 million in annual revenue compared to the current €3.5 million and an online gambling license would cost €500,000. He also noted that roughly 85 percent of the online gambling market is dominated by offshore websites; so technically, he simply proposed that the operators get licensed. Nonetheless, the bill was instantly criticised and deemed to be a probable failure; that was until March 2018, when the National Assembly of Slovenia organized a poll. The result of the poll was quite surprising as 35 out of 61 Members voted in favor of the proposal. According to the bill, operators based within the European Union would be allowed to operate their online gambling services in Slovenia. However, the government was against the bill as it might infringe EU laws.
– In late-March 2018, Zorman’s bill was ultimately vetoed in a re-vote as 18 out of 30 Members of the National Council of Slovenia voted against the bill. Accordingly, many Members started criticizing Zorman, claiming the bill would not lift government funds and that he was “misguided in his belief.” In late-April 2018, Zorman decided to leave the SMC, which is the ruling party.
– From February 8 to 13, 2017, Perla, Casinò and Hotel hosted a poker tournament with €1 million of a guaranteed prize pool.
– With more than 320 data points, Loterija Slovenije reportedly had a sales turnover of €100 million in 2016.
– With more than 130 data points, the State Office for Gambling Supervision reportedly had a gross gaming revenue of €300 million in 2016.
– Športna Loterija launched its website in May 2014 prior to the 2014 World Cup.
– Even though Slovenia joined the European Union on May 1, 2004, the EU has never made a comment on the country’s gambling industry and laws. This is quite unusual because the EU is known to regularly enforce its territories to enact lenient gambling laws.
– Bitcoin is widely known in Slovenia. In fact, the very first public monument of Bitcoin in the whole world—a three-tonne metal sculpture—was unveiled in Kranj—one of Slovenia’s largest cities—in mid-March 2018. Also, BitStamp—which is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges today—was founded by two Slovenian enthusiasts and was based in Slovenia until 2013, when it was moved to the United Kingdom. On top of that, there are 10 Bitcoin ATMs in Slovenia according to CoinATMRadar: one in Koper, seven in Ljubljana, and two in Maribor. However, the Financial Stability Board of Slovenia (FSB) warned Slovenians about cryptocurrencies in 2017. In response to the Tax Administration, the Ministry of Finance stated that Bitcoin (or any other virtual currency) is not a financial instrument and does not have any monetary value under Slovenian laws. Despite the official comments, Bitcoin gambling is in existence in Slovenia as players can visit crypto-gambling websites without prosecution.