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Montenegro’s Electronic Payment Ban in Gambling Sparks Backlash: Threatens EU Compliance and Foreign Investment

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Montenegro’s recent enactment of amendments to its gambling laws, effectively banning modern electronic payment methods such as Apple Pay, PayPal, mobile banking, IPS, and e-banking, has sent shockwaves through the global financial community, particularly in the European betting and iGaming sectors.

Challenges to EU compliance:

The Minister of Finance’s assertion that the country is not obligated to comply with EU rules raises eyebrows, given Montenegro’s aspirations for EU membership and integration into the digital business world. This paradoxical stance could hinder Montenegro’s progress towards EU accession, as alignment with EU standards is a crucial requirement.

The amendments have sparked concerns about Montenegro’s alignment with EU standards, especially considering its candidate status for EU membership. Critics argue that the amendments contradict key EU legal provisions, including directives aimed at forming an integrated market for electronic payments and combating money laundering.

The ban on electronic payments is viewed by many as an attempt to stifle competition and favor local companies over foreign-owned enterprises, including those from the U.S. The move has prompted significant backlash, with a petition garnering 25,000 signatures in just five days, highlighting the risk of job losses and economic repercussions.

Montenegro Bet, the country’s nationwide trade association, has taken proactive steps, submitting the petition to the country’s assembly and initiating a constitutional review. Legal challenges are also underway, with multiple operators preparing for legal action, including lawsuits before international courts.

Implications for the gambling sector:

The amendment to Article 68f of Montenegro’s gambling law restricts electronic payment methods for depositing funds into betting accounts, leaving bettors with limited options. This move not only inconveniences players but also defies global trends favoring electronic payments for their transparency and efficiency.

As European Gaming reports, Montenegro’s decision to limit electronic payments runs counter to global efforts to reduce cash transactions and combat money laundering. Montenegro risks economic isolation and undermines investor confidence by prohibiting advanced online payment methods like Apple Pay and PayPal.

Montenegro’s ban on electronic payments in the gambling sector raises questions about its commitment to EU compliance and alignment with global financial community trends. The move’s potential impact on the economy, investor confidence, and the gambling industry underscores the need for urgent attention and action from both national and international stakeholders.

As Montenegro navigates the aftermath of these controversial amendments, it faces critical decisions regarding its future economic and regulatory trajectory. The outcome of legal challenges and international scrutiny will shape the market’s position in the global financial landscape and its path towards EU accession.

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