Officials from the Slovakian Finance ministry have released a ‘blacklist’ of the first 10 names of online gambling firms operating in Slovakia without the approval of local gaming regulatory authorities.
The move comes following the announcement of a crackdown on illegal gambling by Slovak authorities earlier this month, in which authorities said they would forcibly shut down gambling sites that were in a clear violation of the law.
Seventeen sites were initially found not to be compliant with local regs, with two opting to end their services voluntarily while five others were given ten days to end their operations or face punishment. The remaining sites were all added to the blacklist.
Sites which have been blacklisted include big industry players such as 888 Holdings, Bet365, Bet-at-Home, Bwin, William Hill and 1xbet, along with the Curacao-licensed Eatsleepbet.com and the Malta-licensed LVbet.com and Kajot-casino.com.
Although the blacklisted domains have yet to be officially blocked, ministry officials are reportedly seeking court orders to implement specific domain blocks in the coming weeks. Many local internet service providers have expressed frustration at the government imposing these court orders on them without allocating any additional funding to cover the extra work.
The Slovakian Finance Ministry will be charged with ensuring that the country's banks do not process payments for any of the blacklisted operators and will have the power to impose fines of up to $570,000 on companies found to be running illegal sites.
Many international firms have already exited the Slovakian gambling industry following the implementation of government legislation, which levied a prohibitive 27% tax rate on international operators' gross revenue. Online casino and poker in Slovakia is currently controlled by the state-owned TIPOS national lottery.