Govt Adopts Changes to Gaming Act, Lifting Many Restrictions on Ownership

By , 03 Sep 2021, 10:47 AM Business
Govt Adopts Changes to Gaming Act, Lifting Many Restrictions on Ownership djedj CC-by-0

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STA, 2 September 2021 - The government adopted on Thursday a set of changes to the gaming act that the Finance Ministry had started drawing up in 2015. The changes lift most restrictions concerning casino ownership and introduce granting concessions on the basis of public tenders.

The changes will create a legal framework to enable granting concessions for the ongoing operation of classic and special games of chance in a transparent way based on a public tender, the Government Communication Office said after today's government session.

In line with the existing 1995 gaming act, the government and the finance minister can freely decide on granting and extending concessions.

But under the new bill, the government will grant concessions for operating classic and special games of chance based on public tenders to be published three times a year.

While currently only two companies have concession for operating classic games of chance - Loterija Slovenije and Športna Loterija, now the number could increase to five.

Meanwhile, betting, a specific type of classic games of chance, is to be further regulated. In line with the proposal, special conditions will be set for obtaining concession along with more detailed conditions for their operating.

The proposed changes also eliminate the requirement that a company wanting to obtain a concession for operating special games of chance must be seated in Slovenia, which transposes EU legislation. Restrictions regarding the type of company are also removed.

For concessioners that operate special games of chance in casinos, most restrictions regarding the ownership will be lifted.

Under the current rules, owners can only be the state, local communities, fully state-owned companies and also companies, but the latter may acquire the maximum of 49% of regular shares and meet a number of conditions.

The new proposal, however, envisages that the indirect or direct state's share in the ownership structure of a concessionaire may not be lower than 25% plus one share in the case of a public limited company and no lower than 51% for any other type of company.

The changes also redefine the duration of concessions and envisages extending of concessions for the minimum of three and maximum of five years.

The lowest concession fee is set for ongoing operation of classic games of chance and other types of special games of chance. In casinos, it is set at 5% of the basis and at 20% of the basis for gaming halls, the Government Communication Office said.

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