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Serbia Favours ISP Blocking On eGaming

JAKTA, the Serbian association of operators and games manufacturers, has expressed their support of the gaming board’s decision to block Internet Service Providers in an attempt to produce a regulated market, according to eGaming Review.

The Serbian gaming board along with the Ministry of Finance, ordered the blocking of the ISP’s for over seventy operators. Bwin, William Hill and Unibet are expected to be some of the operators that are affected by the block.

JAKTA President Mirjana Acimovic has stated that this was only a short-term solution but that they would give “100% support” to the Ministry of Finance’s attempts to produce a regulated market for Serbia.

“This is just the first step in implementing new gambling act and one of the measures which will make Serbian gaming environment regulate and favorable to serious Internet and remote gambling providers as well as land-based operators,”

“We are all aware that blocking sites does not yield many results, but this is a clear sign that Serbia is willing to implement all European experience and good practice in near future and it is sending loud message to legitimate businesses,”

However, Rodoljub Sabic, the commissioner for information of public importance and personal data information, stated that ISP blocking is banned under the country’s jurisdiction. Signid Ligne, Secretary General of operator’s association EGBA, believes ISP blocking would be a costly method and would have little effectiveness on preventing the Serbian citizens from joining illegitimate operators.

“…the only efficient way to eradicate a black market is to ensure that online gambling regulations are adapted to the Internet, that they meet consumer demand and allow regulated websites to remain attractive and competitive in a global market,”

The Serbian government passed legislation last year to offer 10-year operating licences and 5% tax on gross gaming yield to entice operators to the market in the future.

It could mean that the Serbian market can become a even playing-field for all operators. It was suggested in a previous article on Spain’s gaming market that regulations were forcing smaller operators out due to higher costs involved. A low tax on gross yield and an entire country to market at could decrease the advantages for larger operators.

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Perry Garland