The interesting part about specific casino markets is how they reflect the country’s history. Learning about how gambling was a popular pastime activity in China or how Queen Elizabeth I once chartered a lottery can give a new perspective on gambling in the countries. Croatia is no exception since the country’s history is intertwined with how the gambling laws have developed. Here’s how.

A Short Overview

In short, gambling is legal in Croatia. This includes both land-based and online gambling. Gambling is divided into four categories: lottery, casino games, sports betting and slot machines. Therefore, all of these types of gaming are regulated by Croatian law. There are some overlaps since casinos like Casino Hrvatska offer poker and table games. But in this case, poker falls under the category of casino games. The gambling market is, therefore, controlled by the Croatian Ministry of Finance. The market used to be much less regulated, partially because of the country’s history. 

The History of Croatia

While other countries already offered or were beginning to offer mobile casinos and live casinos, Croatia was behind because of the legal landscape. Croatia wasn’t actually recognized as an independent state until 1991. Therefore, gambling was regulated by the laws of Yugoslavia, the country of which Croatia was a part until its independence. 

After the country was named the Republic of Croatia, the gambling industry grew because of tourist gambling. Large casinos by hotels were established, where tourists from around the world came to visit beautiful beaches and participate in poker games. 

Land-based Casinos and Online Casinos

Land-based casinos have been legal in Croatia since 2009. Before that, the government had a monopoly on gambling, where operators would need a license from the government to offer casino services. In 2009, casinos became more widespread with the introduction of the Games of Chance Act. While there is a national lottery, other operators also can operate as long as they have a license. 

The very first online casino in Croatia was launched a year after the Croatian Gambling Act, which allowed online gambling, was first introduced. It meant that other online operators could apply for a license. While the process of applying for a license is rigorous, it is required, as operators cannot offer services otherwise and will risk getting a fine. 

The Gambling Legislation 

For online casino operators, there are different licenses depending on what type of gambling they offer. This also decides the cost of the license. Because of the gambling laws, transactions are also done by a government-owned payment system. The government can track all online gambling activities to avoid fraud and cheating.

For the players, there are no rules for playing, except for the requirement of being above 18. While there are no specific rules, playing at a legal and licensed casino is advised. This way, players won’t be surprised by the Croatian casinos and instead be protected, as they know their activities are transparent and secure.  

The Types of Online Casinos

Because of the strict regulations, many of the illegal and unlicensed online gambling operators have been cleared out by the government. It has paved the way for more types of legal casinos to appear on the market instead. While there are different types of casino games, there is also a difference between the Croatian online casinos. 

Firstly, there are the online casinos, which are the most well-known, where locals and foreigners can play from anywhere. These often offer a medley of games not offered at land-based casinos. To make it even more accessible, mobile casinos are starting to appear in Croatia. The games are familiar, but this time, players won’t need their laptops but just their smartphones to play. 

Croatian Gamblers 

When it comes to the nationals of Croatia, there are signs that online gambling has been welcomed with open arms. However, since the online gambling market has existed for less than two decades, there is still progress to be made. A great deal of the population has access to the internet and smartphones, which could result in an increase in the online gambling market. 

In 2023, the online gambling market is estimated to reach 451 million US dollars. The Croatian economy is growing steadily. If the gambling market continues at its current pace, online gambling could end up making up a significant part of the economy.


While online gambling has only been widely distributed in Croatia in the last decade, a lot has happened. With the market becoming regulated, it has paved the way for safe and legal playing in the country. While the government still controls the industry, as they monitor and supervise online casinos, gambling is no longer a monopoly. This paves the way for new casinos. 

While the licensing process is long and the license fee expensive, if the Croatian government finds it a profitable business for the country, there is a possibility that casino operators could get easier access to the market in the future.