Croatia is one of the most beautiful parts of the world, and many people flock there every year to go on holiday. Unsurprisingly, many of those players flock to the nation’s land-based casinos. However, it is not just brick and mortar casino gaming which is legal in the country. Croatians and foreign nationals who have chosen to make Croatia their home can also enjoy gambling online. To find out more about what you can expect to see from Croatia’s gambling laws, the types of games you can play, and the variety of casinos which are accepted in the Mediterranean country, we need to look at the Croatian gambling scene in closer detail.
An Overview of Gambling in Croatia
Gambling is entirely legal in Croatia. The country’s most recent gambling laws came into being in January 2015. A single piece of legislation, known in English as the Law on Games of Chance and in Croatian as Zakon o igrama na sreću, covers all forms of gambling. The most important aspect of this gambling bill is the fourth article. This section details the laws surrounding casino, lottery, card, video slot, and sports betting games.
The Croatian gambling laws themselves are upheld by the Ministry of Finances. This organisation runs the rule over all the various aspects of the Croatian gambling scene. It does not matter whether we are talking about brick and mortar establishments or digital casinos here.
As for online casinos, they are fully legal in the country. There are, of course, a few affidavits attached to that. Firstly, Croatian online casinos must have a physical presence in the country. This means that they also need to run land-based venues. Unfortunately, as most casinos are owned by Hrvatska Lutrija or Prva Sportska Kladionica, Croatian has ended up with something of a monopoly in this regard. Few foreign operators have been compelled to set up shop in the country, on account of being required to build a land-based casino there.
You might think that this would mean that Croatian players are only going to be able to play at a handful of sites? You would be wrong. The Croatian authorities have a very lenient attitude to foreign and offshore operators. There is no blacklist in effect, Croatia does not instruct its ISPs (internet service providers) to block access to those domains, and citizens and residents are not punished for playing at foreign domains. Ultimately, Croatians are free to do as they see fit.
Aside from online casinos, online poker rooms, online lottery games, internet bingo, and sports betting are also legal in the Mediterranean country. With that in mind, let us look at some of the gambling games you can expect to play in Croatia.
Croatia’s Most Played Casino Games
Croatia has legalised virtually all forms of online gambling games. You will have plenty of choose from if you decide to play at a Croatian licensed casino, and arguably even more to pick at an offshore casino or betting site.
Here are some of the types of gambling games which have found favour amongst Croatian internet bettors:
Slots: Slots are popular across the world, so it should come as no surprise that many Croatians spin those reels. While the officially licensed Croatian sites tend to feature more obscure titles, the foreign casinos open to Croatians carry all your favourite titles from major developers.
Table Games: Table games are legal in Croatia. The fourth article of the Croatian gambling law states that you can play games of chance freely. Poker is not officially defined under Croatian gambling law. However, there is nothing to say that you cannot play poker online. With that in mind, you can find poker games online. However, the variety open to players is not as flexible at Croatian online casinos as can be found at overseas sites.
Live Dealer Casino Games: These are not common at all at Croatian online casinos. However, a visit to any major foreign site will see Croats able to play a wide variety of live dealer casino games over a live video stream.
Lottery Games: If Croatians want to play lottery games online, they really need to visit one of the two monopolised sites. Lottery games have been run by the Hrvatska Lutrija since 1953 when it was formerly a part of the Yugoslav lottery. Today, these games can be played online, but again, only officially licensed sites can offer such games to players in the country.
Bingo: Bingo games are not covered by any specific Croatian gambling laws. This does not make them illegal, though. On the contrary, Croatia considers them a game of chance, so you might argue that article four covers them nicely. Bingo games are found at the same websites (the monopolies) as national lottery games. However, it is thought that Croatia will soon see several licensed bingo rooms go live. These, too, though, will be run by the same state-backed company.
Sports Betting: Sports betting is popular in Croatia, where it falls under the jurisdiction of Prva Sportska Kladionica. Taxes are quite high on sports betting in the country, so it is rare to find too many small-scale sportsbooks open for business. Instead, the industry is dominated by monopolised domains and bigger, international sites, predominantly the ones who already have land-based betting outlets active in the country. This naturally sees them qualify for a Croatian gambling license.
Taxes on Big Wins at Croatian Casinos
Sadly, gambling is not a tax-free affair in Croatia. In some countries, it is only the operators who get taxed. However, in Croatia, even you will be slapped with a tax on anything you win.
Croatians must pay a 10% tax on anything they win worth up to 10,000 kunas. That rises to a 15% tax if you win up to 30,000 kunas, and skyrockets to 20% if you win over 30,000 kunas. There is then quite a gap to the next tax bracket. Players who win over 500,000 kunas will be taxed at a rate of 30%. Fortunately, most Croatians do not have to “pay” these taxes, as they are usually taken out by the betting site or land-based venue before winnings are paid out.
As for the operators, they must pay licensing fees worth the equivalent of €500,000, and then there is a costly tax on any income they generate from Croatians, too.
The Best Croatian Online Casinos to Join Today
Thus far, we have looked at the types of games Croatians like to play, as well as the gambling laws of the country. We have also had a good look at the taxes that you can be expected to pay if you win big when playing at Croatian domains. What we have not covered is what makes a website one of the best Croatian online casinos you can join today.
With that in mind, let us do that now…
Croatian Bonuses: You are not likely to find big money bonuses at Croatian online casinos. The authorities just do not seem to like them. However, if you play at an offshore casino, you will find such deals. The best Croatian online casinos (including offshore ones) will be those which make their offers available to Croatians, are fair and come with reasonable wagering requirements.
Croatian Language Gaming: Many Croatians learn English as a second language. However, that does not mean to say that they wish to play at an English-speaking website. Top Croatian casinos will ensure that their players can play in Croatian.
Croatian Payment Methods: As well as serving up the Croatian kuna currency, players should be able to use Croatian-friendly deposit methods at the best casinos. Most Croats tend to deposit using VISA, MasterCard, and other credit card options. E-wallets are also popular with players in the country.
Great Games: One thing which so-so Croatian casinos suffer from is a lack of games. They carry most of the titles you want to play, but sadly they do not support titles from many developers. This is not something that many foreign sites suffer from. If you favour sites with a big arsenal of games, it may be the case that the best Croatian casinos are those which are located offshore, then.
Customer Support Options: Croatian players should not be made to jump through hoops to obtain assistance. At Croatian licensed casinos, support will naturally be available in your language, and often via live chat, e-mail, and telephone. There may also be an FAQ (frequently asked questions) guide you can draw information from. As for foreign casinos, you are likely to find support only available in English.
As you can see, there are certain things which make a top Croatian online casino, and some things which do not. However, not every player will agree. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what is important to you when you play online. If you do decide to venture out and play at an offshore casino, you can do so without punishment. However, to ensure that you end up at a safe and secure casino, we would only advocate playing at our recommended sites or using the guide above to find the best Croatian online casino sites.