The betting industry prospers in Bosnia

NEWS 10.06.2018 15:31
Source: N1

For years, Bosnia’s most profitable companies were those dealing with telecommunication, the energy and trade giants, but now a betting company that has last year made BAM 640 million (EUR 327.2 million) in profits is among them.

Only in Bosnia's Federation (FBiH), the semi-autonomous entity shared by Bosniaks and Croats, have betting shops have made BAM 3.7 billion in profit over the past three years.

From the sociological point of view, the rise of the amounts fans of betting are willing to spend are concerning.

The “Premier” betting shop was, with its BAM 45 million, the fifth most profitable company in the country in 2017.

According to business analysis reports, with BAM 1.115 billion, the electrical power company “Elektroprivreda BiH” has made the highest profit, followed by the trade company Bingo, which made BAM 1.035 billion. The importer and distributor of oil and petroleum products, Holdina, has made BAM 851 million, while a betting shop chain from Citluk has left Telecom, the Steel company and other trade companies in the dust.

Only in 2017, betting fans in the Federation have spent BAM 133,5 million, which is more than the year before and three times more than in 2015.

BAM 1.427 million were paid to those in the Federation who won at betting and the situation is similar in Bosnia's other, Serb-dominated Republika Srpska (RS) entity.

“Considering that spending in a betting shop comes down to 2-3 BAM, plus a coffee and self-rolled cigarettes for one BAM a day, those are small amounts, but the number of people visiting such places is huge,” economic analyst, Zoran Pavlovic, told N1.

And the worse the economic situation is, the higher the number of people visiting betting shops is, he said.

The entertainment of investing money, hoping for a good outcome and profit has a darker side too. The consequences of betting an individual can face are a hundred times larger than the profit, experts say.

Pathological gambling is a disease which has its victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina too, they say.

Psychologist Ismet Dizdarevic points out that not only the economic situation is to be blamed for the gambling. The problem, he said, is in the individual.

“He does not enter the game thinking about how it can turn into an addiction, that it can harm his family. He is not interested in that, because it is a passion that blocks him so much that the only thing he can see is the possibility of eventually achieving something,” Dizdarevic said.

It is estimated that there are more than 35,000 pathological gamblers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is especially worrying that gambling is available to minors who mostly bet on sport events or via the Internet.