Croatia, with a population of around four million, is ranked within the top 20 best tourist destinations around the globe. It also enjoys some pretty liberal gambling regulations compared to other European countries. For citizens and tourists, gambling remains one of the most popular activities for entertainment. Gambling is not prohibited here, so residents enjoy visiting over fifteen casinos across the country where they can play all their favourite games.
Land based casinos in Croatia remain popular
Regulations in Croatia are quite relaxed regarding offline gambling, meaning that land-based games such as table games or poker are present in the majority of Croatian cities. A state lottery also exists which is managed by Hrvatska Lutrija, as well as games of chance such as sports betting, keno and bingo. Due to these relaxed rules, many land-based casinos now exist in Croatia, one of the largest being Casino Minerva in Plovanija. Casinos are also immensely popular with hotels and the tourism industry. In fact, the private sector is known for having the most offline casinos.
Five of the best land-based casinos in Croatia
1. Diamond Palace Casino, Zagreb. This is the place to visit for those seeking an unforgettable night out. Filled with glamour, fun and elegance, one can’t fail to be impressed by the sizable 16,000 square meter floor space, munro glass chandeliers, suede tables and onyx bar. Whether players wish to get involved in a themed party or wish to speak to their favourite athlete or star, this is the place to make dreams come true.
2. Wettpunkt City Centar One, Split. Wettpunkt was established back in 2004 and has a good reputation for being able to provide rich entertainment. This casino features over 120 slot machines, a betting club with the largest ever wide wall, a coffee bar and a night bar.
3. Crystal Palace Casino, Rijeka. Features a good selection of modern slot games, like poker, as well as an exclusive automat club. The casino itself promises the ultimate in entertainment, and it’s easy to see why. The interior is beautifully decorated and colourful, while the staff offer excellent service. If you’re a fan of slots, you’ll love being here, as there is a superb range of machines on offer.
4. Luckia Casino, Osijek. There’s lots to like about this casino. The atmosphere is pleasant, and there is a good range of games on offer, including slots, American roulette, blackjack, Caribbean poker, Texas hold’em and various other tournaments. This casino has the advantage of being able to offer an air-conditioned smoking area and aims to provide an experience not dissimilar to what can be found in the casino capital of the world, Las Vegas. Sometimes, live bands and themed parties take place here as well.
5. Arena Automat Klub, Zadar. This casino has been up and running for over 20 years now. In that time, it has built a reputation for being able to provide players with a fun experience thanks to a variety of top-quality games, including the likes of poker, video poker and slots, and video roulette.
Land based casinos in Croatia are popular amongst both tourists and locals
Online casino scene in Croatia is still developing
Online casinos sites have been permitted in Croatia since 2010 when a new gambling act was introduced. This act basically sets out things like licensing requirements, taxation regime for gambling companies and players, and outlines the role of the gambling oversight body. Further changes to the law were made in 2014, resulting in much stricter licensing requirements. Companies now have to provide proof of compliance and be willing to be inspected and audited by the authorities. They also have to meet certain technical specifications.
The rest of Europe
Many other countries in Europe have a much larger market share for online gambling than Croatia, especially the UK. This is believed to be because Croatia is still establishing its internet infrastructure, whereas in the UK and Europe, this has been well established for some time. Not only that there is also a wide range of casino sites available to players in the UK. These sites range from generic casino game sites where players can access games like poker and blackjack to more precise sites such as an online slots site where the provider will specialise in online slot games. These specific niched game sites offer many versions of games including different themes, payouts and bonuses, perfect for any slot’s fanatic!
And it’s not just the number of providers that has enabled online casinos success in the UK compared to Croatia it is also down to regulations. Croatia only started regulating online gambling in 2014, compared to other European countries where this happened much earlier. Historically, there has been distrust in internet security by Croatian residents, and many residents remain computer illiterate. This makes them somewhat reluctant to use their credit cards for online payments. Additionally, some payment processors are still just getting established in Croatia. Then there’s the fact that players can be taxed up to 30% on their earnings won by online casino sites something that is not permitted in countries like the UK.
Online casinos are not as popular in Croatia compared to other countries in Europe like the United Kingdom
Croatia’s online casinos
While many offshore online casinos are available to Croatian residents, only one state-regulated and registered site actually exists in Croatia itself. This is the state-run lottery, run by Hrvatska Lutrija. Outside of Croatia, there is an excellent choice of lottery, sports betting, gambling and privately owned casino sites players can use which offer a good selection of games. In the UK, things are very different. Players have 105 licensed sites to choose from, in addition to the offshore casinos as well, the competition of providers to stand out from the rest is fierce.
Croatia vs UK
Despite being considered one of the hottest tourist destinations worldwide, and having a substantial land-based casino scene, the development of online casinos in Croatia has been somewhat slow. It wasn’t since 2014 until the gambling act was finally tightened up. In Croatia’s defence, there are some key reasons why growth in online gambling hasn’t been as quick. Internet infrastructure there is still under development in certain places, and as a result, residents are less computer literate and less willing to make payments online. Additionally, Croatia has a much smaller population than the UK at just 4 million, compared to the UK with a sizable 67 million. So naturally, demand isn’t going to be as great. Despite these drawbacks, and the fact that Croatia only has one regulated site for the state lottery, residents can make use of the many other offshore casinos, which have a plentiful supply of their favourite games.