Montenegro’s scenic beauty attracts huge numbers of tourists every year — many of whom visit the country’s luxury resorts and casinos. The country’s land-based gambling operators have an easy route to establishing an online presence.
Tourism is a huge part of the Montenegrin economy. The country’s luxury tourist complexes are among the attractions that draw hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
If the past few years of the Covid pandemic taught us anything, it’s the importance of flexibility and the resilience of online businesses. Small wonder, then, that a casino owner in Montenegro might want to open up an online branch.
The domestic audience for gambling also holds plenty of promise. Montenegro is classed as an upper-middle-income country, with an estimated GDP per capita of just over $20,000, though with a population of just over 620,000 it’s admittedly on the smaller side.
Gambling and betting are widespread, however; reportedly, almost 40% of Montenegrins participate in some kind of betting. Football, water polo, volleyball, basketball, and handball are among their favorite events to wager on.
Let’s look at the country’s regulatory landscape, as well as how entrepreneurs and land-based casino operators can start an online casino.
Gambling regulations in Montenegro
Gambling has been legal in Montenegro since 2006; online gambling was legalized in 2011. For now, regulations are still comparatively light, but the government has announced an intention to add more guidelines in the near future.
Gambling is regulated by the Games of Chance Administration, which operates under the Ministry of Finance. The Administration is responsible for issuing licenses and setting regulations. More details on the licensing regime are given below.
For now, gambling regulations in Montenegro are fairly limited. There are only standard advertising restrictions for the protection of minors, which apply to every industry, and few — if any — restrictions on the location of electronic gambling machines.
However, in 2020, authorities announced their intent to update the country’s gambling laws to brin them into line with European standards. In early 2021, after a two-month public hearing period, the government introduced a draft law including a number of regulatory updates.
According to the draft, law, electronic gambling machines would only be allowed in gambling establishments, gambling establishments would be required to be at least 200 meters away from schools, players would have to submit more personal information when signing up for an account, and players would also be prohibited from visiting offshore sites.
Licensees requirements would include proving that player winnings are paid out, adherence to AML procedures, reporting suspicious activity and maintaining a physical presence in Montenegro.
There would also be new capital requirements for licensees:
- €550,000 for casinos
- €500,000 for online gambling
- €500,000 for lotteries
- €250,000 for betting
- €75,000 for raffles
The draft law proposals don’t appear to mention B2B operations, which currently aren’t regulated.
Gambling licensing in Montenegro
Currently, online licenses are only issued to licensed operators of established land-based businesses. Licensees must be joint-stock or limited liability companies incorporated in Montenegro.
Licenses (also referred to as concessions) are issued according to the type of gambling activity the holder intends to organize. The Games of Chance Administration issues licenses for the following activities:
- Lottery games
- Bingo, TV tombola, and tombola
- Casino games
- Gaming machines
- Online gambling
Licenses to run the lottery (a state monopoly) and casinos are awarded through a public tendering process; for everything else, licenses are available upon request.
License duration varies by license type.
- Lottery games: ten years, can be extended up to five years
- Bingo, TV tombola, and tombola: three years, can be extended by up to two years;
- Casino games: ten years, can be extended by up to five years
- Gaming machines: three years, can be extended by up to two years
- Betting: three years, can be extended by up to two years
- online gambling: no official duration, normally valid for three years and allowed to extend as long as the holder’s land-based license.
As always, applicants have to supply a long list of documents. Required documents vary according to the type of license applied for. When applying for a concession to run a casino, applicants must supply:
- Company name and location
- Company registration document
- Memorandum of association
- Proof of the minimum share capital of €300,000
- A three-year business plan
- Details of games that will be provided
- Game rules
- Background and details of key personnel
- Casino rules
- Technical specifications of gaming machines
- Background check of key personnel
- Proof the applicant either owns the casino premises or has the legal right to use them
- Proof the applicant has a bank deposit or guarantee of €90,000 to pay out player winnings
Interested in starting an online casino in Montenegro? Our licensing and jurisdictional services will handle the paperwork — and the hassle — so you can focus on business development.
Gambling taxes in Montenegro
Taxes on gambling enterprises in Montenegro also depend on the type of games the operator provides.
Here are some other taxes and fees:
- Casino games: operators pay a fixed annual fee of €50,000 and a monthly fee of 10% of GGR.
- Lottery games: No fixed fee, monthly fee of 10% of ticket sales minus the prize fund.
- Bingo, TV tombola, and tombola: No fixed fee, monthly fee of 10% of ticket sales minus the prize fund.
- Betting: operators pay a fixed monthly fee of €500 per betting shop, as well as a monthly fee of 10% of GGR.
- Gaming machines: operators pay a fixed monthly fee of €50 per gaming machine, as well as a monthly fee of 10% of GGR.
- Online gambling: operators pay a monthly fixed fee of €10,000.
Regulations do not explicitly specify that land-based gambling license holders have to organize the same type of gambling online that they organize offline. As in, If you run a land-based slot machine hall and acquire an online license, you can still offer any kind of gaming that you’d like, not just slots.
Currently, successful applicants for a casino concession must pay a one-time fee of €2 million.
What do you need to start a gambling business in Montenegro?
Starting a online gambling business in Montenegro is like starting one anywhere else. There are concrete steps you can take:
- Make a business plan and incorporate a business
- Acquire a license
- Build a platform
- Integrate game content and payment systems
- Start marketing
Get in touch with us to find out more about starting an online casino or sportsbook business today.