Montenegro to ban electronic payment methods for gambling

  • 3 min read
Montenegro to ban electronic payment methods for gambling

Montenegro is considering implementing a ban on electronic payment methods for gambling, a move contested by the trade association Montenegro Bet.

The association argues that the proposed changes to gambling legislation, which would prohibit the use of electronic payment methods, are unconstitutional and contradict European Union law, to which Montenegro aspires to adhere.

The proposed amendment to Article 68f of Montenegro’s gambling law seeks to restrict the use of ebanking and mobile payments for deposits into betting accounts. If enacted, customers would only have the option of depositing cash at a betting shop or using a card terminal, again only available at physical betting locations.

Montenegro Bet’s petition against the ban has garnered support from approximately 25,000 individuals in a country with a population of 620,000. The trade association warns of potential adverse effects on business, including job losses.

Jovana Klisić, a representative of Montenegro Bet, mentioned:

Given that nearly 2 percent of the nation’s workforce is directly or indirectly employed by the gambling sector, in a climate where unemployment stands at 15 percent, any adverse effects on this industry could result in significant and widespread repercussions. Eliminating ebanking for deposits, despite its adherence to compliance and transparency, not only hampers operational effectiveness but also puts jobs at risk, thereby adversely impacting Montenegro’s overall economy.

Klisić further argued that the proposed amendments violate multiple EU legal provisions, including the Montenegro-EU Stabilisation and Association Agreement and the Payment Services Directive. Additionally, she noted the endorsement of electronic payments by anti-money laundering watchdogs such as Moneyval and the Financial Action Task Force.

In 2022, the Slovakian Ministry of Finance (MR-SF) and the country’s gambling regulator URHH facilitated a study visit for their counterparts from Montenegro. Aimed at enhancing transparent and responsible management of public finances derived from gambling, the visit was part of a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project.