Slovenian lawmakers are bucking current European political trends by making moves towards opening their sports betting markets to foreign operators.
In a proceeding that occurred early last week, the Slovenian National Assembly voted 36-25 to allow operators from European Union countries to apply for Slovenian online sports betting licenses. That market is currently a monopoly administered by the state-run, Športna Loterija. The vote had support from politicians from all the parties represented in the National Assembly.
The bill’s sponsor MP Branko Zorman, who represents the Modern Center Party (SMC), brushed off criticism of the bill by pointing to two separate points. Zorman says money raised from international sports betting operators can be used to fund Slovenian sports programs.
Zorman also pointed out that about 85 percent of the current Slovenian sports betting market is controlled by international firms anyways, so why not get something out of the deal? That something, according to Zorman and reported on by Total Slovenian News, would amount to increasing the government’s revenue on sports betting from €3.5 million ($4.34 million UDS) to €13 million ($16.1 million USD) annually.
While international sports betting operators may take notice of the move towards liberalization in the Slovanian National Assembly, the bill’s future is anything but certain. For starters, it’s unclear how many operators are interested in spending €500,000 ($620,000 USD) to get a Slovenian sports betting license in order to serve a country with a population of only two million anyways. Also, the bill must pass through Slovenia’s National Council, where members are considerably less enthusiastic about sharing a market with the rest of the European Union.