Gambling industry has been developing quite nicely in Armenia over the years, and its boom fell on the 90s.
The resurrection of gambling business in Armenia already began back in Soviet times. During the USSR years the only gambling possible across the whole country was the lottery. But Armenian gambling laws have allowed their first gambling halls at the end of 1990. The first casino in the capital Erevan has been opened in 1991.
1991 has also seen the initial gambling law amendment in Armenia. This act ensured gambling business licensing, which fell under Ministry of Finance jurisdiction. Special taxation rules were set for gambling business in 1992, where gambling tax for casinos and lotteries was set at 70% from profits.
Gambling establishments in Armenia
After the law came into force, Armenia saw a number of gambling slot machine halls coming into being. The machinery for these establishments was mostly purchased in Turkey. The more serious gambling business came to Armenia in 1993, when Casino National has been opened. Naturally, there wasn’t even any talk about online casinos in Armenia, since internet was in very early development stages in the country.
Gambling regulations remained unchanged until 1998, when a law on “Fixed Payments” has been passed. One of the main parts of this laws referred to real-money gambling. The law described a “gambling establishment” as a hall, which has an exterior or interior sign containing words “gambling hall” or “casino”. At least 1 gambling table or 20 machines were the necessary minimum for an establishment to be referred to as “gambling”.
The new law set a fixed payment for each table, depending on its location. Another form of taxation was put on slot machines and each square meter of lotto halls.
Later on in 1998 the licensing procedures and governmental control were set for gambling establishments. These law amendments primarily referred to gambling operators and the setup of the gambling establishments. The halls were required to have at least 100 sq. meters space, and they were required to be located at least 200 meters from educational establishments. There were some exceptions in case of hotel casinos.
As for the gambling operators, the companies wishing to set up casinos needed to have at least $25,000 in charter capital, and at least $2,500 in case of gambling halls. A general tax of around $60,000 per year was set for casinos.
There was another amendment to the gambling regulations in 2000. Only companies registered in Armenia received the right to operate gambling establishments in the country. Moreover, these companies must be licensed with the Ministry of Finance, and mustn’t have any outstanding debts towards tax agencies or any other governmental organization.
The future of gambling in Armenia seems bright, with more and more foreign investors turning their heads towards this industry. Armenia could be a very good example for neighboring countries how well-regulated and taxed gambling industry can be profitable for government’s coffers.