A developing market with diverse demography but complicated regulation, Bosnia and Herzegovina could be an interesting investment opportunity for gambling operators. Learn more in this article.
Bosnia and Herzegovina gained independence after the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1992. The country has tremendous ethnic diversity, with over 3.8 million Bosniaks, Serb, Croats, and other groups living alongside each other. Geographically, the northern part of the country is referred to as Bosnia, while the southern region is known as Herzegovina.
However, politically and administratively, the country is divided in a different way: the Brčko District (Brčko Distrikt), the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Federacija Bosne i Hercegovine), and the Republika Srpska.
The country’s tumultuous history of formation, disintegration, and political division, as well as a convoluted bureaucracy, predictably affect its condition today. The developing and transitional economy is largely dependent on the export of natural resources; overall, it lacks foreign investment and suffers from high unemployment.
Though the opportunities Bosnia and Herzegovina presents are not as appealing as they are in other countries in the region, they do show some positive dynamics: the country’s GDP is growing by 3% yearly, 77% of population is connected to internet, and the government has set itself a goal of strengthening economy by reforming the fiscal system, improving the private sector, and entering the World Trade Organization. Bosnia and Herzegovina has also applied for European Union membership in 2016.
Gambling habits in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Covid pandemic has massively affected countries around the world, and Bosnia and Herzegovina is no exception — the whole country, gambling sector included, went online.
Gambling participation is fairly widespread, though less so than in other countries. According to one study, an estimated 70.5% of young people have gambled at least once in their lives, 27% of respondents have played more than once in their lives, for a longer period of time; and 10% play on a weekly basis.
Players in Bosnia and Herzegovina prefer smaller bets — sums they don’t even remember afterwards — but participate in online games of chance on a daily basis. Just like in the rest of countries in the region, the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are fans of sports betting: according to the Tax Administration of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, citizens spent KM 1.3 billion ($724 million) on sports betting.
Gambling regulations in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina has the highest number of betting shops per person in Europe. Online gambling is legal in both the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, but only for companies that also have land-based operations. The first online license was awarded to Williams, a local land-based sportsbook, in 2011.
It is important to understand that there is no state regulation of gambling — since the country is politically divided into regions, regulation is not unified.
The Republic of Srpska issues gambling licenses for five years, and the requirements are very standard: the company has to be registered in the country, it has to prove a sufficient funds to be able to cover players’ winnings, and it must prove good conduct of the company founders. Advertisement regulation is also standard, aiming to protect minors. Operators have to ensure their machines, platforms, and systems are tested and certified by licensed laboratories.
In 2019, the Republic of Srpska changed its legislation and adopted the Law on Games of Chance. It increased taxes from 15% to 20%, with the government planning to increase its gambling revenue to KM 30 million ($16.7 million). The cost of an online casino license has also changed to KM 100,000 ($55,709).
Gambling in the Bosnia and Herzegovina region is similarly not expressly regulated. However, general rules on certification and advertisement restrictions apply. The same goes for the Brčko District.
How can Slotegrator help?
Slotegrator is a provider of technical and legal solutions for gambling operators from a complete Turnkey platform to game aggregation via APIgrator, from a tailored sportsbook development to licensing and advisory services. Our team will help to develop your idea to a real running project starting with a free consultation discussing plans and resources. Let our lawyers assist you with choosing the right market for operation and our sales team to select games and features for your platform.