The war against illegal gambling facilities is raging in Kyrgyzstan, and it looks like the authorities are winning.
All forms of gambling have been banned in Kyrgyzstan, when the Kyrgyz gambling laws were rewritten in 2012. Increasing gambling addiction among population was named as one of the main reasons for the ban.
Ever since the new law went into effect, local authorities are battling underground gambling establishments, which grew like mushrooms after the rain. In the first year since the ban, 63 illegal dens were closed, 29 electronic roulette tables and over 700 slot machines have been confiscated.
According to official data, before the ban there were 535 gambling halls in the country and a handful of casinos. Most of them were owned by the members of parliament and government officials, according to some sources. This fact was also one of the strong reasons behind the decision to ban gambling in Kyrgyzstan.
The future of Kyrgyz gambling
Gambling tax represented a considerable portion of the government’s incomes. Naturally, since the ban was enforced there are no revenues streaming from gambling now. Some of the officials are now advocating bring back gambling in some form or another. Another aspect is unemployment, it has been estimated that around 12 thousand people have lost their jobs as a result of the gambling ban.
Industry experts say that the Kyrgyz gambling ban has negative effects as well. Besides already mentioned unemployment and losses in taxes, a huge spike in criminal activities can be seen. It was only natural that gambling will move underground. However, local authorities seem pretty successful in their efforts to battle illegal gambling dens.
Sportsbooks were particularly popular in Kyrgyzstan, local people traditionally enjoyed wagering on sporting events which took place in the country and outside. The only option for local gamers now is try and play on the Internet, but of course there are no Kyrgyz online casinos or sportsbooks available. However, many local residents find ways to gamble at various foreign-based destinations.
In case Kyrgyzstan government does decide to allow some form of gambling to exist legally, local will no longer have to hide from the authorities whenever they want to spend the night gambling. It remains to be seen how gambling will develop in the country, but it’s good to know that not all hope is lost.