The Republic of Serbia is an Eastern European country of around 7 million people with a long and varied history when it comes to gambling. Serbia was the first country to open a casino in the entire former Yugoslavia region in 1964, and has experienced several decades of strict government regulation, subsequent deregulation and renewed authoritative efforts. Learn more about current Serbian online gambling laws in this guide and the betting sites and casino sites you can legally play at online with Serbian dinar (RSD) currency.
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Serbia online gambling laws
With the very large Grand Casino Beograd located in the Serbian capital and over 17,500 slot machines spread out across the entire country, gambling is no stranger in Serbia. However, it is tightly regulated, and this includes online casinos and sportbooks.
The period of change for online gambling began in 2004 with the introduction of the Games of Chance Act, the first major effort to combat the illegal online gambling black market offering services to Serbians. The GoC Act was the first important step in regulating the Internet betting industry in the country, legalising several games related to gambling, including baccarat, blackjack, bingo, lotteries, raffles, roulette, scratch cards, slots and sports and racing betting. However, online gambling became under the sole control of the State Lottery Državna Lutrija Srbije, which handed out land-based casino licenses but held onto its tight grip on the Internet casino trade for around 7 more years. Offshore online gambling sites, however, still targeted Serbian residents, who were largely able to play without legal issues.
In 2011, the Serbian parliament introduced massive changes to its existing systems with an updated Games of Chance Act, which saw the government and state lottery’s tightly controlled monopoly over online gambling services in the country removed in favour of a new scheme that would enhance foreign investment efforts, strenghten the legal gambling market in Serbia with attractive tax rates and also combat and nullify the still significant black market operations targeting Serbian residents; the Tax Administration of Republic of Serbia analysed the size of illegal gambling in Serbia and unofficially estimated it was in excess of €6m in 2013.
The new gaming regulation legislation discussed was passed and enacted by November 2012, and allowed private businesses to set up shop, apply for a state license to legally operate and provide interactive gambling services to Serbian citizens via the Internet so long as they are licensed and operating within the country itself with a physical presence. It also gave the preexisting Serbian Gaming Board more authority and their efforts aimed to further open up the online gaming market, make it easier for legitimate online casino businesses to compete on an even playing field with black market sites, and streamline taxation for the gaming industry within the country.
Alongside the new Games of Chance Act 2011, however, were new clauses. Namely, the government was allowed to block unlicensed offshore casino sites targeting Serbian players by blocking their ISPs. A large blacklist of over 70 sites was created the following year, and the government unsuccessfully attempted to force Serbian banks and financial institutions to not process transactions related to online gambling at foreign casino and sportsbook sites.
Is online gambling legal in Serbia?
To re-clarify, yes, online gambling is legal in Serbia. As already mentioned, the Games of Chance Act 2011 allowed online casinos to be licensed by the state and open up shop in Serbia – so long as they have an actual headquarters and their servers set up within the country. However, current locally licensed options available for Serbian residents are limited, though massive online gaming software developers like Net Entertainment have recently gone live in the regulated local market so that state-licensed Serbian online casinos can host their stellar games catalogue.
As for whether Serbians are allowed to gamble at licensed offshore online casinos, this is technically illegal, but the Serbian government is not concerned enough about offshore casinos to impose a penalty for players found gambling at foreign sites. The Republic of Serbia’s government seems to be regulating and handling online gambling on a case-by-case basis with their blacklist efforts and only targeting unlicensed offshore sites; so long as the online casino or poker network is audited, licensed and regulated by advanced gaming jurisdictions such as the Malta Gaming Authority or the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, Serbian citizens are safe to continue betting and playing at foreign-based online casino websites, who operate and abide by different but equally strict international laws to Serbia’s current gambling legislation.
There have been no significant criminal charges recorded on any Serbian citizen accessing offshore casino sites and gambling because the government does not prosecute individual players for placing bets at foreign online casinos or betting sites – they only seem to care if the site is unlicensed and illegally targeting Serbian citizens. Because the country’s banks refused to ban payments related to online gambling, you don’t have to worry about your money being blocked either. The Serbian government’s ISP blacklist also has to be enforced by ISPs, and reports indicate many Serbian players have been able to access their favourite licensed casino sites normally without issue.
Best online casino and betting sites servicing Serbia
While we recommended Serbian players take the time to look at their locally licensed online casino and sportsbook options, we also have a list of licensed offshore online gambling websites safe for Serbian players to play at for free or to bet real money on their favourite casino games – everything from baccarat, blackjack, craps, keno, live dealer, poker, roulette and more – as well as bet on the best international sport and racing markets. As mentioned above, it is technically illegal for Serbians to play at an offshore casino site and although the chances of punishment are incredibly rare, it is up to each individual to understand the online gambling laws that apply to them and play at their own risk.
The table at the top of this page is geo-targeted to your location, meaning it will only display our top sites which currently and legally cater to players from your region – so Serbian visitors can click on our links to read our many official casino and betting site reviews for more information each site’s services, games, betting markets and licensing, or get straight to signing up to their site of preference with exclusive player sign-up bonuses.