CROATIA GETS ITS FIRST LICENSED ONLINE POKER COMPANY
SuperSports the first to license
Despite legalization laws and the availability of licenses for online poker in Croatia, international operators have shunned the country due to bureaucratic and technical shortcomings, but the first licence has been issued this year to local land gambling firm SuperSport.
The company's local presence and land licensing makes it eligible for an online license, although there are restrictions on players who may be accepted and these exclude US punters. In any event, SuperSport expects that a high percentage of its online poker business will be generated domestically and in the local currency. Initial marketing is clearly focused on the local punters.
SuperSport is already active in the online space, offering online casino gaming since early this year, following the Croatian lottery's entry into online casino operations last year.
Head of poker Vedran Katic told Poker News this week that his company worked on its online casino and poker licensing for two years before it could move forward. This included developing its own online poker software, which under local laws had to be based in Croatia and is still in beta test mode.
The software is available only in Mac and PC download form, but the company has plans for mobile and web browser versions in the future.
Licenses run from January to December each year at a cost of Euro 600,000 and are not offered on a pro rata basis, so licensing mid-year means paying Euro 600,000 for just six months.
Katic says the initial reaction from the players has been positive, with up to 190 players logging in for NLHE ring games at tables named for local islands; more poker variants will be available in the future he said.
Limited tournament action is also available, but the focus throughout is on the recreational player, and third party software and seating scripts are banned.
Katic is an online and live poker player who previously worked for the Entraction network.