The first licensed online poker room was launched in Croatia last week. SuperSport, a gaming company with land-based casino and betting operations throughout the country started its online offering on Jan. 11
Croatian gaming law allows companies with licensed brick-and- mortar facilities to offer online gaming services.
SuperSport is a well-established licensed sportsbook having over 300 betting shops across the country. It also operates an approved casino facility in Croatia.
The legislation permitting online poker was approved in 2009 but private operators could enter the market only after the state-owned lottery started its online operations. The process of setting up the lottery helped to put in place all the necessary requirements for the successful operations of online poker websites.
Although the country’s law allows online services to be accessed by international players, the company expects the site to cater primarily to recreational Croatian poker players. Residents from certain countries like the United States will not be allowed to play on the site. SuperSport Head of Poker Vedran Katic said that the company spent over two years getting ready for its online casino and poker software. It created its own poker software since the back-end infrastructure needed to be based in Croatia by law. Katic stated that this process took a lot of time
In a statement Katic said
Developing poker software is very, very difficult. It is very complex for developers, who are usually not poker players themselves. We wanted to make custom branded software with the software being completed fresh. When players first sit down, they can feel like they haven't seen it anywhere else before
According to Katic, the company was ready to launch by mid-2016 but since licenses in the country run for a calendar year and the license cost was 4,000,000 Croatian Kuna (€600,000) the company thought it would be better to wait till the new year, since the license can’t be pro-rated.
The software is currently in beta mode and offers poker games only in the variant of no-limit hold'em. It prohibits any third-party software (such as HUDs), seating scripts and player searches
On its first day of operations, the site saw positive interest from players with around 190 players engaged in several low stakes games at one time. Katic said that the company is planning to bring out a more comprehensive tournament schedule as well as additional poker variants/a> soon.