The ÚRHH said that this increase resulted from a “restructuring” of supervision, as well as an increased strategic focus on performance from the regulator’s leadership.
The body also said that the establishment of a specialised online gaming department, which it founded in November 2022, also contributed to an increased effectiveness of the supervision which took place.
The new department is primarily charged with overseeing licensed internet gaming. Its secondary responsibility is to search for and prevent consumers from accessing websites operating or promoting unlicensed gambling.
General director of the ÚRHH Dávid Lenčéš said that he was “very pleased” that goals were being met in regulating gambling.
“Of course, a big thank you goes to our supervisors throughout the Slovak Republic, who actively search for illegal facilities and supervise the fulfillment of all legal obligations by legal operators,” he said.
“Having gambling games under systematic supervision is one of the main tasks of the office as a regulator in the field of gambling.”
ÚRHH inspections in first quarter of 2023
The regulator recorded a more than 45% rise in inspections focused on searching establishments without a licence.
During the period ÚRHH supervisors carried out 437 checks focused on quiz and mining machines to ensure that no illegal activity was taking place.
According to the Slovak Gambling Act, small businesses such as resaurants are barred from operating gaming machines.
These devices may only operate from approved venues meaning gaming rooms and casinos. Every machines must be licensed by the ÚRHH.
“Increased systematic control activity of illegal operations has its justification and brings its results as, compared to 2022, the number of detected illegal devices on the market is significantly reduced,” added Lenčéš.
“Searching for illegal establishments and seizing illegal devices has a preventive nature and ultimately leads to the protection of society, especially juveniles and risk groups of persons who are excluded from participating in gambling.”
Remote gambling supervision
In addition to its on-site inspections, the ÚRHH also supervises online gambling.
In Q1 2023, the regulator noted a close to 90% rise in digital inspections compared to the same period the previous year.
The regulator said that this form of surveillance makes it possible to check a large number of operations more effectively.