Deputies of the Republika Srpska National Assembly (NSRS) put the Law on Games of Chance on an urgent agenda in the session held on Tuesday night.
Seven amendments of the ruling coalition (SNSD, DNS, Socialist Party, DEMOS and United Republika Srpska) were adopted, among which the Games of Chance were organized by the “Lutrija RS” alone or in co-operation with other companies through the formation of a joint a company in which “Lutrija has at least 51 percent of participation and decision-making, with the prior consent of the Government.
SDS amendments were not accepted, and support was given to PDP amendments.
The law has caused controversial attitudes of authorities and opposition to whether it is beneficial to lobbyists or privileged companies when it comes to arranging games of chance.
Entrepreneurial Finance Minister Zora Vidovic said the aim of the law was to improve the supervision in this area and to develop the volume of business in games of chance, and thus increase budget revenues this year by 30 million BAM, and in the next and 60 million.
“The aim is also to strengthen the role of the ‘Lutrija RS’ public company and to introduce an electronic system to supervise the games organizers,” said Vidovic.
On March 11th, bet shops in Republika Srpska closed their premises in protest of the government and the National Assembly of Republika Srpska, one of the entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“If the National Assembly of RS adopts the Gaming Law on Tuesday, we are forced to close. Specifically, this means that 2,500 of our workers will be left out of work, and the RS itself will remain without a budget of 60 million in budget, how much it gets annually from the lottery,” the organizers said earlier.
The RS government deemed the issue an urgent procedure meaning the government does not have to hold a public debate on the issue. If passed, the RS Ministry of Finance will have control over all gambling in the region.
Gambling companies are opposed to the increased regulation from the government, and they are also worried about having to pay more in tax. Premier Sport Betting believes the new rules will greatly impact their profit margins.
The Ministry of Finance wants more control as gambling shifts to the online venue, and in a press release the ministry said they are aiming to improve betting in the region. The government wants to strengthen the Lottery of Republika Srpska Banja Luka, the national lottery to a similar standard of surrounding countries.
Premier says the government has poorly communicated the new regulations, and they are attempting to make the case that jobs will be lost due to the new regulations.