History of Gambling in Armenia

История азартных игр в Армении

Armenia's economy has stabilized significantly since independence in 1990. The country attracts investments from all over the world. The tourism and entertainment sectors are developing rapidly. One area that is receiving major investment is the gambling industry. Land-based and online casinos are allowed by law, which allows establishments to operate legally.

The history of the origin of the gambling business

The first establishments started operating in 1990. The state did not regulate gambling at the legislative level, so casinos were opened everywhere. Large operators operated in big cities. The owners of small restaurants and hotels opened halls for 3-5 tables.

Пейзаж курорта
View of the entertainment complex Senator

Gambling was legalized in 2004 after the adoption of the law "On Gambling and Casino". It included a number of regulations, the conditions and procedure for taxation were changed. Owners were required to obtain licenses.

The main changes in the industry after the entry into force of the law:

  • Halls were allowed to be located at a distance of at least 50 km from major cities and regional centers.
  • В заведении должно быть минимум 20 игровых объектов (столов, автоматов).

A number of amendments have been made to the legislation over the course of 8 years. By 2013, the objects were ordered to be moved to gambling zones. The deadline was later pushed back to 2014. Although many owners were able to invest in new clubs, most establishments closed.

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In 2018, the legislation was amended:

  • Foreign operators were required to obtain a local license.
  • Forbidden to visit gaming clubs to persons under the age of 21.
  • Licenses can only be obtained by persons who have invested at least $100,000 in the institution.

In 2018, the state increased the annual fee from $211,000 up to $1,000,000 in order to increase budget revenues. This backfired as many operators closed down.

According to 2018 statistics, over 2,000 people worked in the gambling business. Tax revenues from the sphere amounted to 1.5% of the country's GDP. Armenia received approximately $22,000,000.

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New law on gambling

In May 2022, global changes were made to the gambling legislation, which will enter in force 25.11.2022. Main innovations:

  • Mutual settlements with players will become non-cash - using a bank account. Payment of bets with electronic money, as well as using terminals, will be prohibited within 6 months after the changes come into force.
  • Advertising is allowed only in hotels with 4 stars or more, points of entry into the country (airports, train stations), on the sites of establishments.
  • The annual fee paid for license renewal will be increased.
  • RTP of slots must be at least 90%.
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Peculiarities of organization of online games

Available for residents of the countryсайты licensed in third-party jurisdictions, although it is prohibited to provide services without local registration. No measures are being taken to block them, so your own online business is developing slowly.

The law allows you to organize online games. Features of providing access to gambling entertainment remotely and directly in the hall:

  • The organizer is obliged to verify the players online or directly at the entrance to the hall.
  • Activity is carried out directly at the address specified in the license. 897
  • Если игры организованы в помещении, с улицы не должно быть видно, что происходит внутри. Разрешена только вывеска.
  • It is worth using the Internet address that is specified in the license.
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Despite the possibility of opening a legal online platform, operators prefer to work under foreign licenses. There is no effective supervision of foreign companies in the country. The following legal sites are currently available to players:

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Gambling zones of Armenia and establishments

There are four gambling zones in the country, but it is possible to open a casino outside them. To do this, you need to pay an increased license fee. The cost of permission to organize gambling depends on the zone.

NameFee in millions of drams
Tsaghkadzor180
Севан150
Jermuk100
Meghri85
Elsewhere5500

Playing games outside the zones costs about $14 million annually. This is too much for most operators.

All legal establishments are located in the Tsakhkadzor zone. In addition to them, there are shady casinos in the country - about 8 pieces.

Royale Signature

The Tsakhkadzor zone is located in the Kotayk region of Armenia, in the central part of the country. It is a compact resort town with a population of about 900 people. The main casino - Royale Signature operates near the Mariott Tsaghkadzor hotel. It hasslots, poker club, table games.

Royale Signature
Roulette table with dealer and visitors

Tsaghkadzor is a ski resort, so the peak of the tourist season falls on winter. It is 60 km to Yerevan, and 70 km to the airport. The journey from the capital takes a little over an hour.

Shangri-La

At the 10th kilometer of the Yerevan-Sevan highway, the Shangri-La entertainment club is located. This is the largest institution in Armenia, which is popular with tourists from Iran and the United Arab Emirates. Slots and table games are available to visitors. There is no poker room.

Shangri-La Casino
Shangri-La interior

In 2022, the Ministry of Finance zeroed out state duty debts to Shangri-La owners due to the fact that the license was suspended during the coronavirus pandemic . 4.2 billion drams have been written off.

Senator Golden Palace

The senator is also in Tsakhkadzor. It is located in the 5-star Golden Palace Resort & Spa Tsaghkadzor in a huge 5-storey building located in a forest. There are about 50 slots and 8 tables with card games and roulette in the main hall. There are also private and VIP rooms.

Senator Golden Palace
Senator entertainment center lobby
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Useful for players

Citizens and residents are required to pay taxes on winnings exceeding AMD 10,000 in one payment. The fee is calculated as a standard, based on the amount.

ConditionsTax
The first 80,000 AMD per month10%
From 80,000 drams per month to 2 million drams20%
More than 2 million drams25%
First 960,000 Armenian drams per year10%

Information regarding the dress code should be specified in the club's help desk, as it may change on holidays and days of major draws. Usually the rules are standard - sportswear and shoes are not allowed. Useful for players planning to visit Armenian clubs:

  • Establishments charge an entrance fee (about $100). Money is credited to the client on a deposit or issued in the form of lucky chips and used for playing.
  • The clubs offer a wide range of entertainment, but do not offer lotteries. They are prohibited by law. Some casinos conduct them covertly in the form of draws or illegally. There is no penalty for participation in lotteries for visitors.
  • At stakes above $2000, the client is required to keep transaction documents.

Russian citizens do not need to pay taxes directly in Armenia. Foreign winnings are declared in the Russian Federation. There is an agreement between the countries on the exchange of information between tax authorities.

There is an opportunity for investments in the gambling business in Armenia. The problem is an expensive license. Therefore, it is opened by successful businessmen, large companies. The local population prefers land-based sites and is wary of online games. But due to the remoteness of the clubs from major cities, high entrance fees, the main contingent are tourists from other countries.

Richard "Bose" Bosworth is the main partner and CEO of the young company JC Hospitality, LLC ...
Sarah Wasserman
Information Writer
Position: Informative Article Writer Education: Secondary special Age: 38 years old Experience: more than 5 years Short biography: Born on June 21, 1984 in St. Petersburg. She graduated from the 9th grade of a comprehensive school, after which she entered the College of St. games in Georgia
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