Today, sports betting operators in Republika Srpska are set to close their premises in protest to the new gambling policy of the National Assembly of Republika Srpska (NSRS) and the Government.
The NSRS session’s agenda for March 12th is set to include discussion on the Law on Lottery Games. If adopted, the piece of legislation is expected to lead to the closure of local betting shops which have been legally operating in the entity, according to legislation’s opponents.
The organizers of the protest claim that they would be forced to close their sports betting premises in case that the National Assembly of Republika Srpska adopts the proposed Gambling Law tomorrow. The betting outlets’ closures, on the other hand, would lead to massive layoffs in the industry, leaving about 2,500 of the operators’ employees jobless. Apart from that, the implementation of the new piece of gambling legislation would strip Republika Srpska of the annual revenue of about BAM 60 million which are currently generated by the lottery.
The Government of Republika Srpska has claimed that the issue is a matter of urgency, which would allow it to pass the measure without any public debate on the matter. If the proposed Law on Lottery Games, the Ministry of Finance of Republika Srpska will have control over the entire gambling sector in the region. In an interview for a local media, the Finance Ministry confirmed that the bill will provide it with “complete insight into all aspects of gambling”.
Premier Sport Betting Warns for Shops Closures and Layoffs Due to New Gambling Law
The Ministry of Finance is willing to get more control over the sector at a time when the gambling industry shifts to digitalization. In a press release, the Ministry has revealed that they are aimed to improve betting services in the region. In addition, the Government is focused on bolstering the national lottery, the Lottery of Republika Srpska Banja Luka, by imposing standards that pretty much resemble the ones of surrounding countries.
For some time now, the region’s gambling industry has been flourishing, with gambling profits constantly increasing. The Government is looking for ways to increase its profit of gambling revenues, which is why even small winnings under $50 are set to be taxed under the provisions of the new bill.
Local gambling operators have opposed to the stricter regulatory regime unveiled by the Government and have previously shared fears that they would have to pay bigger taxes, too.
Last week, one of the most popular betting operators in Bosnia – Premier Sport Betting – explained that the new provisions of law would have a massive impact on the company’s profit margins. According to the operator, the new regulations have been poorly communicated by the Government in a move that would cost the sector thousands of jobs and legal gambling revenue.
Toni Boras, Premier Sport Betting’s spokesman said last week that if the new Law on Games of Chance is officially adopted in its current form, the company will be forced to close its premises and dismiss all the employees.