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Montenegro Faces Backlash Over Gambling Payment Ban



Montenegro’s Gambling Payment Reform: A Clash Between Tradition and Innovation

In the scenic heart of the Balkans, a storm brews in the world of gambling. Montenegro’s bold move to ban electronic payments in gambling faces fierce opposition. Stakeholders unite, challenging the amendments as a threat to progress and prosperity. Delve into this unfolding drama where tradition clashes with the digital age.

Montenegro, a jewel in the Balkans, is at a pivotal crossroads in its gambling regulation. The government’s recent proposition to ban electronic payment methods for gambling deposits has ignited a firestorm of opposition from industry stakeholders. At the heart of the controversy is the Montenegro Bet trade association, which has launched a robust campaign against the proposed legal amendments, arguing they clash with the European Union’s legal framework—a union Montenegro aspires to join.

The Crux of the Dispute

The amendment to Article 68f of Montenegro’s gambling law seeks to eradicate the use of e-banking and mobile payments for betting accounts. This radical shift would mandate gamblers to revert to more traditional methods of depositing funds, specifically cash at betting shops or card payments via terminal, but only within the premises of these shops.

A Groundswell of Opposition

The backlash has been swift and significant. Montenegro Bet’s petition against the amendments has garnered the signatures of 25,000 individuals—a notable figure in a nation of 620,000. This movement signals a deep-seated resistance among the populace, reflecting broader concerns about the impact on business viability, employment, and the economy at large.


Economic and Employment Concerns

Jovana Klisić, representing Montenegro Bet, has articulated the gravity of the situation. With the gambling sector being a substantial employer in the country, the proposed changes threaten not only operational efficiency but also the livelihoods of those within the industry. In a country grappling with a 15% unemployment rate, the potential job losses could exacerbate an already tense economic environment.

Legal and EU Compliance Issues

The proposed amendments do not just raise economic alarms but also legal ones. Klisić has highlighted how the changes contravene multiple EU legal provisions, underscoring the misalignment with the Montenegro-EU Stabilisation and Association Agreement and the Payment Services Directive. Such discrepancies not only jeopardize Montenegro’s EU aspirations but also conflict with the recommendations of prominent AML watchdogs like Moneyval and the Financial Action Task Force, which advocate for the adoption of electronic payments for their transparency and traceability.

The International Perspective

The controversy in Montenegro is set against a backdrop of international cooperation and knowledge exchange. In 2022, the Slovakian Ministry of Finance and the country’s gambling regulator hosted Montenegrin counterparts for a study visit under a United Nations Development Programme project. The initiative aimed at enhancing the management of public finances from gambling, illustrating the shared challenges and solutions within the international community regarding gambling regulation.

The Road Ahead

The debate over the ban on electronic payments in Montenegro’s gambling sector represents more than a legal quandary; it is a microcosm of the broader challenges facing the gambling industry globally. As nations grapple with the dual imperatives of innovation and regulation, Montenegro’s journey offers critical insights into the delicate balance between safeguarding economic interests, aligning with international standards, and ensuring responsible gambling practices.


In conclusion, as Montenegro navigates this contentious issue, the outcome will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications. Not only for the country’s gambling industry and its economic landscape but also for its standing on the international stage, particularly in relation to European Union integration efforts. The saga of Montenegro’s gambling payment reform is a testament to the complex interplay between tradition, innovation, and the quest for a harmonious regulatory environment in the digital age.

Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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