Betting in Bratislava

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Published: 02/04/2013

The capital of the Slovak Republic is still a rather new name upon the list of major international cities. In the past it was known as Pressburg (in German) or Pozsony (in Hungarian), but since 1919, the official name has been the term that was most preferred among Slovak patriots seeking national self-determination for this city on the east bank of the Danube where kings of Hungary were once crowned—Bratislava.

Slovakia, of course, gained its independence from Czechoslovakia in 1993, making Bratislava not only a rather young capital but also unique as the only capital bordering two different countries—Hungary and Austria. In fact, Vienna is just 60 kilometres to the west. As a result of its geography, Bratislava has developed as a melting pot of cultures, strongly influenced by people of different nations and religions, and particularly by Austrians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Slovaks and Jews.

Horse racing has a long history in Bratislava, dating back to the region’s first hippodrome established in 1868. Today, thoroughbred races are conducted at the Zavodisko Bratislava Horsetrack on Starohájska. Pari-mutuel revenues there in 2010 were €101,622, of which 65 percent was returned to bettors. Off-track wagering on local races is also permitted through licensed bookmakers, who recorded some €40,692 in betting turnover that same year. Today, all racing in Slovakia is overseen by the Turf Direktorium Für Die Slowakei, which is a member of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities based in France.

Casinos are a much more recent innovation in Bratislava. Two competing groups have been responsible for 80 percent of the development of gambling infrastructure in the capital. One of them is the Merkur Casinos network, a division of the Gauselmann Group headquartered in East Westphalia, Germany. They currently operate three properties around the city, including the Merkur Casino – Devinska Nova on Eisnerova and the Merkur Casino – Pribisova on Pribisova. Both are open from 8am to 4am and offer gaming machines only.

The flagship for the network is the Merkur Casino Bratislava, located on Trnavska Cesta. In addition to 44 gaming machines, it offers patrons the opportunity to play roulette at to dedicated tables. Operating hours are from 8am to 5am, daily.

Challenging Merkur for leadership in the Bratislava gambling market is the Olympic Entertainment Group, based out of the Republic of Estonia. They operate two properties in the capital, led by the Olympic Casino – Carlton Hotel, which is located inside the Radisson SAS Carlton Hotel. The facility features 62 gaming machines and 14 table games, including Poker, all available 24/7. The other property is the Olympic Casino – Eurovea. It has a gaming area measuring 5,640 square feet and featuring 47 gaming machines plus 10 table games. The hours are from 9am to 5am, daily.

One other gambling activities operator in Bratislava is the Concord Card Casino. Taking advantage of the recent worldwide boom in Poker interest, this specialised facility offers 15 poker tables with games available 24 hours a day. Located on Plynarenska, the casino sponsors league play as well as cash games and tournaments.

Also headquartered in Bratislava is a state monopoly called TIPOS, or the National Lottery of Slovakia. It has been in operation since 1993, administering a variety of games and remitting the proceeds to the Ministry of Finance. Games include four types of Instant Lottery, three types of Keno (including Lotto) and Tipos Bingo. Tickets are sold at hundreds of retail sales outlets as well as online at the TIPOS web site.

TIPOS is also one of the few licensees for Internet betting in Slovakia. No virtual casinos have been established to date, and just one company, Tipsport, is currently offering a dot-SK sportsbook online.

Published on: 02/04/2013

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