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Regulation | Balkans
Balkans
gaming
industry
raises
stakes
the economy, through two accused of being money laun- notable progress in regulating
A recent report by Oxford Analytica, an
main routes: tax revenues and dering facilities for criminal the sector, which in itself is a
independent strategic-consulting firm, has
job creation. But the figures, it groups, many of which are major step forward for a region
drawn the conclusion that despite a recent
argues, do not seem to add up. operating in the Balkans. urgently working to find a regu-
Macedonia reports income Regulating the gambling latory remedy. The report,
increase in gaming activity in the Balkans,
of $2m per year from taxes on industry is difficult, however, whilst not a pretty painting on
authorities remain slow in regulating the
gambling; Serbia earned E12m three countries - Bosnia, Serbia the Balkan industry wall, is still,
in only the first quarter of and Bulgaria - have made after all, only a work in progress.
sector. 2009 from this source and Bul-
garia E57m in 2008. The finger,
he gambling Serbia and one in Bosnia- ultimately, points to wide-
T
industry is Herzegovina (BH), compared spread tax evasion. Many
Balkans Overview
Bulgaria
The State Commission on Gam-
growing rapidly to 24 in Romania, where the casinos and gaming houses,
bling, established under the
in south eastern market is completely unregu- they contest, have been found
Ministry of Finance, has helped
Europe, attracting lated. Casinos tend to attract to keep two sets of accounts,
to quantify the size of the sector
tourists from neighbouring consumers from outside the one that records losses and is
and monitor compliance with
countries, creating jobs and host countries. submitted to the tax authori-
regulations.
generating tax revenues. The second tier is repre- ties, and another authentic
However, with this growth sented by the gaming houses. record that reveals vast
comes fears that the sector At the lower end of the market profits.
may also engage in tax evasion are vast halls filled with slot As far as employment is
and, in some instances, machines, as well as bingo concerned, the report is more
appears to play a role in games and lotteries. BH has favourable. The industry has
money laundering for organ- 2,000 slot parlors and lottery created 1,600 jobs in Macedo-
ised crime. So believes the shops for a population of nia, and pays average salaries
Bosnia
recently published Oxford 3.9m, while Romania has to its workers of around $650,
A new law in the Federation of
Analytica report. 25,000 gaming houses for a more than twice the national
BH simplified the tax rate on
The gambling industry in population of 22.3m. Gaming average. In Bulgaria, the indus-
earnings to a flat tax of 10 per
south eastern Europe, they say, houses serve the local popula- try is estimated to create
cent, replacing a complex web
Serbia
has two distinct parts: first, are tion rather than tourists. 80,000 jobs directly and indi-
of different rates in the 10
A new law was introduced in
the casinos, second come the A recent report by the rectly, and pays wages around
cantons.
2004, which increased state
gaming houses. Organized Crime and Corrup- 50 per cent higher than the
control over lotteries, and made
Casinos stand at the higher tion Reporting Project, which national average.
other gambling activities condi-
end of the market, offering brings together regional But it is crime and links to
tional on gaining a license from
roulette wheels, as well as tra- investigative journalists, esti- crime that stir the greatest
the state. All casinos were
ditional card and dice games mates that E1.5bn ($2.2bn) a concern, the report believes.
closed down until they had won
such as blackjack and craps. In year is staked in the gambling In addition to tax evasion,evi-
the new licenses, and only one
countries where casinos are industry in south eastern dence suggests that some
has so far succeeded in doing so.
tightly regulated, few casinos Europe. The sector, the report gambling units are associated
operate - there is only one suggests, should be expected with organised crime. Casinos
fully-functional casino in to contribute significantly to and gaming houses are often
GamesWorld | 20 | October 2009
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