Gambling has been legal in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1992 after the country gained independence from Yugoslavia. That is quite surprising for a Muslim-majority country, as most Muslim countries are known for their unforgiving stance against all forms of gambling. However, the gambling industry is well-regulated, with punters allowed to play at terrestrial and online casinos. Online gambling became officially legal in the country in 2011 when gambling laws were amended.
The current main piece of gambling legislation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the 20219 Act on Games of Chance. The Act retained most of the gambling regulations that had been introduced previously and added several sections to cover newer forms of online gambling, such as virtual electronic games and video casino games. New tax rates were also introduced, requiring punters to pay 10% on more than 50 Euros winnings. The laws also introduced new fees for online casino providers to obtain operating licenses.
The Republicka Uprava Za Igre Na Srecu, a sector of the Ministry of Finance, is the official body tasked with regulating gambling activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The regulating authority is responsible for issuing and renewing gambling licenses to online casinos in the country. Moreover, it oversees all licensed casinos' operations to ensure they provide a free and fair gaming environment and meet all tax requirements.
In recent years, the regulatory authority has tried to regulate offshore online casinos that offer services to Bosnian punters but has been unsuccessful in all its endeavors. That included a ban in 2013 that resulted in blocking foreign online casinos, which was lifted shortly after due to legal issues, political attacks, and public pressure. The attempts resulted from many local punters preferring to play at foreign casinos to avoid paying relatively high taxes on winnings in local online casinos.
Reports indicate that the regulatory authority is still working on effective ways to regulate offshore online casinos to ensure it collects optimal revenues from the gambling industry.
The Bosnia and Herzegovina laws have specified penalties for gambling providers that do not operate within the bounds of the law, such as offering casino gaming services without a license. In addition, the penalties include monetary fines and imprisonment. However, there have been no recent cases where online casino providers have been charged despite the high number of illegal casinos. That indicates the laxity of the government regarding enforcing gambling laws.