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Montenegro – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations
Literally translated to meaning Black Mountain, Montenegro is an often overlooked southeastern European country that sits along the Adriatic. The country was made independent in 2006 after the break up of Yugoslavia, eventually gaining the name of Montenegro a year later. While all forms of gambling were banned during the time of Yugoslavia, its disintegration was met with an almost immediate lift of the ban. It wasn’t long after this that the small unassuming country actually become one of the first in the world to offer online gambling licenses. While you won’t find many sites that still operate under a Montenegro gambling license, the concept was considered a pioneering move at the time.
Montenegro has legislation in place to make a regulated market, however, it is not so clear cut as to simply go looking for the first Montenegrin licensed site. The country has been equipped to distribute gambling licenses since 2012, although the integrity of these licenses has since been disputed. It is therefore generally advised to stay away from sites that operate purely on the basis of having a Montenegrin license. It also means that it is technically illegal for establishments to offer their services to residents without holding a license. Nevertheless, online casinos that operate abroad are still very much accessible. So, while Montenegro is technically a regulated market, most players will probably be playing from sites that are locally unregulated. As such, it is important that you take into consideration the extra risks of being involved by playing at a site without having the protection of the law on your side.
- Is the casino fully licensed?
- What are the main policies of the casino’s licensing authority?
- Are your preferred payment methods supported?
- Does the site also offer sports betting?
- Will you be able to participate in any promotional campaigns?
Accessing a site that is not licensed to operate in your country can expose you to a lot of risks. Black-market operations are particularly attracted to restricted or unregulated markets and Montenegro sits in an unusual position of being regulated in theory, but in practice operates on a more unregulated basis. That’s why we recommend you keep it close here at GoodLuckMate, where we provide you with unbiased and concise information aimed at keeping you informed and enhancing your casino gaming experience.
Gambling legislation in the region can be traced back to 1909, however, during the times of communist Yugoslavia, only the state-run lottery was permitted. After a long road to independence, the independent Montenegro we know today was officially recognized in 2007. This allowed the government to remove the blanket ban on gambling activities and eventually led them to set up online gambling legislation and licensing capabilities in 2012. This was one of the first of its kind and allowed operations to apply for a separate license to provide their games and services online with no restrictions for specific games or activities.
While this license saw good adoption rates in the early 2010s, the reputation of the license itself began to degrade over time. The license, therefore, fell out of favor and finding an online casino that still carries it is akin to finding a relic of a past time. It is also something best avoided, as the most trustworthy and legitimate sites have since moved on to more robust and well regarded licensing authorities. Residents in Montenegro are therefore left in this contradiction where locally licensed operations could be riskier to gamble with than overseas sites that operate in the country illegitimately but with more trustworthy licenses.
Online casinos that operate from abroad are often called overseas operations, however, most of them are in fact based in Europe. This means that Montenegrin can enjoy some limited localization options simply by virtue of its proximity to the casino’s main markets. This means that a lot of languages, payment and currency options are offered that attempt to reach the biggest audience of European customers as possible. The main disadvantage that Montenegro has is its small population. With just over 600,000 residents, the size of the market is simply not big enough to offer up Montenegrin language settings and other country-specific localization options. A part of this lack of representation comes from the unusual licensing situation that the country has found itself in.
The fact that Montenegro shifted over to euros was a great decision for the online casino fans in the country. Keeping a local currency would have most likely meant low adoption rates with several industries, simply due to the small population of the country. Adopting the euro meant that this was never an issue, as the currency is commonly found across the internet. The vast majority of online casinos allow players to use euros to the extent where it becomes difficult to find a site that doesn’t. Various payment options built around making euro transactions online are therefore also widely available in a variety of shapes and sizes. E-wallets, for example, have been incredibly popular with players, as they offer a quick and easy way to make and receive payments across the web.
Montenegro’s capital city of Podgorica covers around 10% of the country’s landmass. The city and the stunning Adriatic coastline play host to six land-based casinos. There are also numerous slot halls and sports betting shops dotted around the country, as sports like football are incredibly popular with the locals. The lottery is also available, but an independent operation called Lutrija Crne Gore was granted a monopoly on the activity by the government, meaning that no other operations are legally allowed to set up any separate lottery programs. As for internet-based gambling, we believe that Montenegrins would greatly benefit from some reforms to the current legislation. As the online license issued by the country has had its reputation damaged beyond repair, a new solution must be reached for residents to enjoy the full benefits of living in a regulated market.