Currently outlawed gambling industry in Kyrgyzstan is still operating and is now looking to make an official comeback.
Gambling industry officially ceased to exist in the country when Kyrgyz gambling laws were changed in 2012. However, there was and still is much uncertainty concerning the gambling business and lots of casinos and gambling halls still operate on a semi-legal basis.
During the two years since official ban on gambling, the state coffers lacked a considerable amount of taxes stemming from gambling. This was the main reason behind members of parliament bringing back the question of legalization. Everyone now agrees that the decision to ban gambling in Kyrgyzstan was rush and ill-advised.
The ban led to thousands of people losing their jobs, and a huge spike in underground and criminal activity. Before the ban, gambling business have generated around half a million of dollars on a daily basis for the state coffers in taxes. Their absence has naturally led to decrease in pensions, salaries and other social benefits.
Members of parliament blaming themselves
The current situation could be funny if it wasn’t so sad. Members of parliament in Kyrgyzstan are now blaming themselves for their bad decision in regards to land-based and online casinos in Kyrgyzstan.
One of them, Roman Shin, had the following comments: “I didn’t vote for the ban, however, the law has been passed. There was little active opposition. There’s nothing wrong with casinos if this revenue-rich business is approached wisely.”
Despite the ban there are a lot of semi-legal casinos and gambling halls operating throughout the country. But the biggest concern of the country’s authorities are underground casinos and slot halls. The majority of them are operating during the night and exclusively for “their own” clients. Obviously they are not paying any taxes and in some cases serve as hubs for criminals.
Kyrgyz parliament will now listen to the voices of those who advocate bringing back casinos rather than gambling halls. Several law amendment proposals have already been submitted before the parliament. One MP, Igor Gusarov, opined that if legal casinos make a comeback in Kyrgyzstan, in partnership with local government bodies, both local and federal budgets will be receiving a great deal of money in taxes.
It remains to be seen what’s in store for casinos in Kyrgyzstan, as there are several competing law proposals. Hopefully, common sense will prevail and the gambling industry will make a legal comeback to the country.