A series of proposed amendments to Armenia’s gaming laws concerning the way in which casino investors are licensed in the country has been approved by the government. The changes will enable an investor or group of investors to automatically receive a casino license if they pledge to spend 40bn drams (US$83.5m) on a project.
The former Soviet republic nation that sits between Europe and Asia is home to about eleven casinos located across four specially designated gaming zones. There are also online gaming operators in the country, as well as a state-run lottery, and gaming has been on the rise in recent years. The government is interested to further expand the sector and benefit from increased tax, which it last year increased from 100m to 500m drams.
The regulations were introduced on April 1 and have been pushed forward by Armenia’s deputy finance minister Vardan Aramyan. He proclaimed that the amended legislation would ensure a larger government control over the country’s casinos and gaming sector. Speaking to local media earlier this year, Aramyan said the increased control is aimed to combat money laundering, terrorism financing and other potential illegal activity.
It was also highlighted at a government meeting that investors or a group of investors will be able to move forward with their casino plans, but a casino license would only be granted to one party of a consortium.
Earlier this year, the Armenian government additionally approved plans to create a registry of VIP gamblers. Effective as of June 1, both land-based and online operators in the country are required to report all transactions over 1m drams (US$ 2,000) and keep copies of player documents. These are further attempts to stamp out any illicit behaviour in the sector.