Serbian Gaming Board Orders a Block on Blacklisted Operators

By Debra SaundersGoogle

The Serbian Gaming Board, a department of the government, which introduced an online gambling licensing regime last year, has this week sent a directive to major ISPs that demands them to block seventy blacklisted or unlicensed online casino games sites.

The list includes some of the top online casino sites, such as Betfair, Bwin, Bet365, Mybet, Skybet, 888, William Hill, Bet-at-home and Ladbrokes. The Gaming Board threatened that if it finds a continuation in illegal operations, it would seek cooperation from other regulators.

The ISPs, which are still in talks with their lawyers have yet to respond. Director of INet and a former president of the Association of Internet Providers, Vojislav Rodic, stated that he believed that such orders are obligatory to follow only if approved by the judiciary.

The ISPs situation is made even more complicated by new licensing measures that were introduced in November and received significant push back as they seem to need some refinement. They currently allow only the national lottery to operate an online casino games site and issue licenses.

Aleksandar Vulović, a director of the Serbian Gaming Board, explained the move, "We had to prevent access to illegal gambling in order to have a regulated market. Players who operate within the law and from within the state can reap benefits.” He continued, “Currently the provision of games of chance via the internet is one of the most profitable industries and it is estimated that the revenue will double by 2013. It is simply wrong and no longer legal, that the state does not collect a penny of the millions circulating within this industry".

JAKTA, a trade association representing Serbian online casino games operators, land based casinos, slot machine and gambling equipment manufacturers, announced in a statement that the association had conducted careful research and presented convincing evidence for legalization to the country's politicians. JAKTA also had suggested that new online gambling licenses should be issued for a period up to ten years.

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