Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.
Croatia is without doubt one of the safest countries in Europe and latest figures from the statistical wing of the EU, Eurostat, show that car theft in Croatia is the third lowest of all EU members.
Police across the European Union recorded on average 697,000 car thefts yearly over the period 2015 to 2017, a 29 percent reduction compared to the period 2008 to 2010. Between 2008 and 2017, there were downward trends in most EU Member States.
On average over 2015 to 2017, the figures were highest in Luxembourg (328 police-recorded car thefts per 100 000 inhabitants), followed by Greece (269), Italy (257), Sweden (256), France (247) and Czechia (238). The lowest figures in the EU were observed in Slovakia and Estonia (both 31), Croatia (20), Romania (15) and Denmark (4).
As a tribute to the Croatian soldiers and civilians who lost their lives in Vukovar during the siege in the Homeland War the streets of Dubrovnik, and indeed most Croatian cities were illuminated with candles tonight.
And in Dubrovnik, as it is every year, this was done on Vukovarska Street, where a large series of candles were lit to honour the victims of Vukovar.
Every year around 860,000 British nationals head to Croatia and take advantage of beautiful weather, stunning views over the Adriatic and the very finest local Croatian cuisine.
Another draw for tourists is Croatia’s growing gambling scene, which has gone from strength to strength in the past 5 years. For casino loving Brits, the biggest question is ‘how do gambling laws in Croatia differ to those in the UK?’
Croatian gambling laws
Gambling laws in Croatia have changed a lot in recent years. Until 1991, legislation meant that only those who held a government issued license were allowed to operate, giving the government a monopoly on gambling.
The introduction of the Games of Chance Act in January 2009, allowed for casinos to be built and a wide range of sports and games to be wagered on. However, 20% VAT was also introduced on profits from gambling which made it hard for smaller land-based casino companies to continue trading.
In Croatia, it is legal for players above the age of 18 to gamble in one of the countries 20 registered land-based casinos, online or on state-run lotteries. Lotteries and bingo represent the biggest percentage of the country’s gambling revenues, and unlike in the UK, these games are licensed and operated by the government.
In terms of the law, that’s where the differences between the two countries start and ends. The reason that both countries share many of the same gambling laws is that (at the time of writing) both are member states of the European Union.
When Croatia joined the EU in 2013, it was forced to bring its gambling laws and regulations in line with the rest of the Union. One key change that was implemented was the introduction of €500,000 fees for gambling licences.
This meant that all companies offering their gambling services in Croatia had to pay the fee in order to meet government regulations and operate legally. This decision was not met with glee by the Croatian gambling authority and actually led to riots.
British gambling companies are also obliged to pay a fee to the gambling commission for their licences, although the costs are often double that charged in Croatia. The fees are for all types of operators – including online ones and online gambling is more profitable than ever with UK online casinos booming. If you wish to experience it firsthand for yourself, try out this operator which is considered to be a very popular UK online casino.
Nuances in law do exist between the UK and Croatia in terms of gambling, but there is one clear area of difference that adversely affects tax revenues in Croatia.
In the United Kingdom, all gambling providers are required to base themselves either in Great Britain or one of the country’s crown dependencies. Most operators choose to base themselves in Gibraltar, Malta or the Isle of Man where corporate tax figures are lower than in mainland Britain.
Whilst the tax rate in these dependencies may be lower than if the companies were based in mainland Britain, the law does still ensure that British gambling revenues contribute in terms of tax to the British economy.
In Croatia, there is no such stipulation. Operators from all over the world are free to offer their services to Croatian nationals with no obligation to pay tax in the country. Whilst this may be good for tourists looking to place a bet with their favourite provider on holiday, it is bad news for the Croatian economy and even worse news for homegrown online casino operators.
This is because they are missing out on tax revenue which could be invested in public services such as transport, hospitals and schools.
Before exploring the difference in gambling revenues between the two countries it is important to note that the population of the UK stands at 66 million which is 62 million more than that of Croatia.
Furthermore, as listed on the trading economics, GDP per Capita in the UK is almost three times that of Croatia, which makes direct comparisons between the two somewhat difficult to quantify.
However, last year the total revenues of the gambling industry in the UK totalled 17.5 billion Euros, whereas the Croatian figure stood at 350 million Euros. Those figures may seem lightyears apart, but in reality, they are not.
On average, each Briton spends around 263 Euros a year on gambling, compared to 87.5 Euros by Croatians. If we were to account for Britain’s three times higher GDP per capita, then the relative gambling expenditures per citizen are indeed very similar.
Delving further into the statistics, it becomes clear that Croatians love gambling just as much as Britons, if not slightly more. Croatia’s most recent gambling revenues represented a 16-year high, whereas British revenues were down on the previous year.
Differences in land-based casinos
Croupiers conduct and lead the table-based games in land-based casinos
As mentioned earlier in the article, there are slightly over 20 physical land-based casinos in Croatia. In the UK the figure is just above 100, which is about right for a country 5 times bigger than Croatia.
The only real difference between the two countries in terms of land-based casinos is that the UK is home to 1 ‘Super Casino’ of the size common to Las Vegas. Inside both casinos, in Croatia and the UK, there is no real difference in experience for the customer.
Could the Croatian gambling industry learn from the UK?
For years the British gambling industry has been heralded as the best in the world and used as an example for other counties to follow. Complete with a huge choice of games and engaging graphics, it’s no wonder online casinos are so popular. That no longer seems to be the case as many countries have already adopted the same approach to their own domestic gambling industries, including Croatia.
Pound for pound, gamblers in Croatia spend a similar amount to their British counterparts and evidence even points to higher growth in Croatia than in the UK.
Furthermore, legislation and regulations in both countries are incredibly similar, meaning that both operate with a high level of scrutiny towards unscrupulous and criminal elements within their respective gambling scenes.
An area that the Croatian government could learn from the British would be licences and taxation. In order to fully reap the benefits of a booming gambling economy, Croatia must adopt the British approach of requiring companies to base themselves in Croatia and pay domestic, rather than overseas taxes.
Other than that, it would be rather prudent of British gambling experts to study the scene in Croatia in order to discover what is making the industry so successful on this small slither of the Adriatic.
The beer drinking horn is linked to the Vikings, greatly admired for their fierce and courageous qualities. A beer drinking horn is a drinking vessel that’s made of animal horns like cattle. While Vikings are warriors, traders, and explorers, they also loved to drink alcoholic beverages like beer and mead.
Beer drinking horns embody the Vikings’ admirable qualities and traditions. For this reason, serving drinks in a beer drinking horn is a unique and meaningful way to celebrate achievements and important events in your life.
Below are the best reasons why you should buy a beer drinking horn.
Unique Event Theme
A Viking-inspired theme won't be complete without a beer drinking horn. It's a unique concept that’s gaining popularity, especially during weddings. What’s more, a beer drinking horn is a nice giveaway. Telling your guests that they can bring home their beer drinking horn after a wedding reception is a unique and memorable way of ending your celebration.
Here are some examples of events or occasions where you can implement a unique Viking theme:
● Wedding: If you're looking into a unique and memorable wedding theme, having a Game of Thrones theme is a great idea. Feel a real Viking feast by serving your guests beer in drinking horns, which are perfect for cold beverages. Enjoy and relive the Medieval times, using such a unique drinking vessel.
● Bachelor's Party: Whether bachelorette or bachelor party, having a Vikings theme would make the ambiance unique and cool. Just imagine yourself and your closest friends tossing and drinking endless amounts of beer until you're all satisfied chatting and bursting into laughter.
● Children's Party: For children's parties, drinking horns can hold juices, smoothies, or other favorite drinks for everyone to enjoy. Ask the kids to wear Vikings costumes and send out Viking giveaways. With the matching holder, the kids can set their own drink down so it doesn’t tip over.
● Halloween Party: This occasion is a great chance to take selfies or photos of people wearing the coolest costumes ever. So why not take the opportunity to wear a Viking costume and flaunt your polished beer drinking horn? It's such a great idea to celebrate Halloween.
● Christmas: If drinking beer, wine, soda, or juice in a glass feels too “ordinary,” consider switching things up with beer drinking horns. This item will surely make your Christmas eve more exciting and magical.
Best Pairing for Grilled Food
Drinking horns go well with grilled foods, like barbecue and steaks during festive celebrations on various occasions. For instance, a citrusy and bright American pale ale has strong hops notes that dance with the best spices of grilled foods and barbecue sauce, making a great drink pairing. Beer malt perfectly matches with the savory meat.
Feel the unique drinking experience and savor the delicious taste of meat, best paired with your beer drinking horn to hold your beverage.
Surely, you'll have a lot of guests on your special day. While you might know all of them, they might not know each other as much and feel uneasy around unfamiliar faces. Break the ice with beer drinking horns. Serving beverages in beer drinking horns can be a great conversation starter.
Here are the things your guests would love to talk about while seeing such unique drinking vessels:
● The uniqueness of the drinking horn
● First-time experience of using a beer drinking horn
● Eagerness to use a similar theme on their next event
Experience Pride While Drinking from a Premium Vessel
While drinking wine, beer, or any other beverage in a glass can be elegant, many people are already used to such a drinking vessel. Drinking in a unique and premium-quality drinking horn will leave the person feeling more special in your gathering. Treat your guests extra special by choosing only the best drinking horns.
Here are the qualities of a high-quality beer drinking horn:
● Safe to Use: A high-quality beer drinking horn is double sealed with a modern and safe sealant to ensure safe use and no leaks.
● Handcrafted: A high-quality drinking horn is made by hand to ensure it is well-crafted.
● Sustainable: Horns were obtained from family farms specializing in horn crafting for sustainability and respect for animals. Only deal with a trusted seller who can provide proof of using only sustainable horns to consumers. One way to check is through the company’s website.
● Durable: Choose one with a resin-based material to prevent warping, contracting, and expanding.
Drinking horns have been around for ages. These drinking vessels were used by Vikings a long time ago, and modern celebrations can benefit from beer drinking horns, which embody quality, pride, respect, and appeal.
The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system of any residential and commercial building can influence the comfort and health of its occupants. Having an HVAC system at home ensures that the household inhales air that’s free from contaminants. This system also allows you to control your home’s indoor temperature to better suit your local climate.
An HVAC system can be a godsend, especially if you live in a city where the climate is always changing. Colorado Springs, for example, experiences cool, dry-winters, and warm climates in a year. The unpredictability of the daily weather can affect a person’s productivity and health, which is why an HVAC system is always a smart investment.
To ensure that your HVAC system can provide all of these benefits, look for the number one HVAC contractors in Colorado Springs or in your city. Here’s how you can do it:
1. Use Your Resources
Several contractors usually provide the same service in a specific location. If you’re living in a big or growing city, expect that you’ll have several options to choose from.
When finding the best HVAC contractors, narrow down your search by using your resources. Do some online research and ask your friends and family if they know any HVAC contractors in the area. Colleagues from work and neighbors can provide recommendations as well.
There are several contractors who specialize in HVAC Colorado Springs maintenance and repairs, and by using your resources, you can have an idea of how a specific HVAC contractor provides services.
2. Check If The Contractor Is Licensed
You can only utilize your HVAC system if it’s installed by licensed contractors. The contractor should have the necessary training, experience, and tools to effectively work with an HVAC system. Without these elements, parts of the HVAC system can be damaged, which can lead to more costs and a lot of stress.
Instead of paying for an amenity that can boost the comfort of your household, you’ll end up paying for contractors who will do the complete opposite.
Before hiring an HVAC contractor, always ask about their license. Established HVAC contractors, such as SoCo Heating and Cooling, will be happy to comply with your request. Some of these contractors will also post their license numbers on their websites, so make sure to check if this is available.
An HVAC certification license means that the contractor is properly trained and qualified to perform any tasks that involve the HVAC system—from the installation to repairs and maintenance.
3. Ask For A Written Estimate
The cost of the HVAC contractor’s services is an important deciding factor. Regardless if you’re having one installed in your residential or commercial property, you would want to work with contractors who are reasonably-priced but still provide high-quality products and services.
You can asses this information by asking for a written estimate from the HVAC contractor. This document should clearly indicate the cost and timeline of different HVAC projects. Possible costs incurred by a customer and how these are calculated should also be included in the written estimate.
Although convenient, you should never settle for an HVAC contractor that provides an estimate over the phone. While some cities consider oral contracts as legal and binding documents, it’ll be challenging to support any claims if a case against the contractor is taken to court.
Always require the HVAC contractor to send you a written estimate of their costs and services. If the HVAC contractor doesn’t provide you with any, look for other options.
4. Don’t Settle For The Cheapest Contractor
As mentioned, the cost of the contractor’s services is an important factor to consider. In fact, you’re probably motivated to scout for several contractors in your area because you’re planning to hire one that offers the cheapest services. Besides, everyone loves to score discounts and bargains, right?
When it comes to HVAC system installation, cheaper isn’t always better. Licensed HVAC contractors poured their time and effort to master their skills, so don’t expect that their services will be cheap.
Choosing to hire the cheapest contractor will usually result in more expenses and added stress in the long run. Cheap HVAC contractors are often unlicensed, or are using substandard tools in their projects.
The prices of these contractors might be the cheapest in your area, but because their products and services will require frequent repairs, you’ll end up spending more. In worse cases, cheap HVAC contractors can even cause damage to your property.
Aside from the benefits, you’ll be spending a lot of money for the purchase and installation of an HVAC system. A brand new HVAC system will cost between $2,000 to $5,000. Repairs can cost at least $5,000 and can go up to $10,000.
Only work with legitimate and experienced HVAC contractors, so you’ll end up paying for an HVAC system that provides value to your money. HVAC contractors that offer high-quality products and services can ensure the functionality and longevity of your investment.
What a difference a day makes! From grey skies, crashing seas, floods and torrential rain to bright sunshine and blue skies. The weather decidedly took a turn for the better today as the week in Dubrovnik opened with brilliant sunshine and clear, blue skies.
The forecasters were certainly on the money as the gale force southerly winds abated and the sun broke through the grey clouds. The historic Old City of Dubrovnik was bathed in sunshine and indeed the forecast for the rest of the week shows more clear skies and warmer weather.
The festive period is on the doorstep and Dubrovnik is getting into the spirit with the Christmas decorations. The lights have already been hung across the Stradun and around the heart of the Old City and today it was the turn of the Christmas trees.
The first Christmas tree was installed at the beginning of the Stradun and there are more to come including the largest one near the St. Blaise Church. With only 37 days left till the big day it looks like being a colourful event in Dubrovnik as ever, although the chances of a white Christmas are very slim indeed. But we’ll settle for a dry one instead.
Almost a quarter of a century after the Homeland War ended in Croatia experts believe that there is still 87,700 acres of land that needs to be cleared of possible land mines. That is roughly the size of 66,000 football fields that still may contain land mines. And now with some financial assistance from the European Union the Croatia government is planning to clear 4,200 acres of forest land in the Velebit Nature Park and the Paklenica National Park.
35.8 million Euros has been earmarked for the clearing of mines in these forest areas and the EU will pay for 85 percent of the total.
The clearing of mines left over from the 1991-95 war is expected to be completed by June 2023, by which time nearly 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) of forests located in the Velebit Nature Park and the Paklenica National Park would be cleared.
"Currently there are 355 square kilometres of mine-infested areas in Croatia. That is a frightening number considering the fact that there are more than 30,000 mines and other unexploded devices in those areas. This government aims to clear Croatia of mines. That is why I am pleased with the signing of this agreement, which is in large part co-funded with EU money," stated the Environment and Energy Minister, Tomislav Coric, said in a press release.