Our very own Head of Legal, Jakub, has recently participated in an interview with LoginCasino and went into details about the CIS gambling market. Below, you can find out the current situation of the CIS gambling region, how the online gambling business is evolving, views towards Georgia and Russia, and things we can expect in the upcoming years. Interested? Be sure to read the full interview then!
What is happening in the CIS region today?
The gambling environment in CIS countries is currently at the beginning of its own lifecycle, therefore we are watching the continual process of the market changes. Generally, the legal proposals focus on increasing security and a clear tax system simultaneously. For example, Armenia joins the push for stricter gambling and ad limits. The draft law on “Making Amendments to the Law on Advertising” would ban online gambling advertisements on websites between 10pm and 7am. Additionally, Armenia’s advertising laws prohibit websites from having more than 20 percent of their page space taken up by gambling ads.
What about the interaction between Gambling businesses with other local businesses?
The regulators of the individual states are starting to realize that the gambling business is a part of the entertainment industry, which focuses not only on the local population but also on foreign tourists. In this context, even states that have had a strict policy are beginning to loosen its legal regulation. The Azerbaijan parliament began to prepare a law that would legalize certain types of gambling activities. The topic of liberalization of existing laws is regularly raised in the country. The reason is quite understandable: tourism has become one of the leading sectors of the economy in Azerbaijan. At the same time, many travelers consider visiting a casino as exotic entertainment. In addition, many foreigners are attracted by the opportunity to interestingly and luxuriously spend their time.
How is the online gambling business environment evolving?
The strategy of legalizing online gambling and creating a licensing system is gradually being approached. Gambling operators are given the opportunity to legally register for an online casino. For example, the decree in Belarus allows online bingo, slot machines and card games. The law on the legalization of online gambling and the creation of a licensing system came into force in April 2019. The law requires international operators to host their servers on Belarusian soil. Foreign gambling sites that do not use the .by domain extension will be blocked.
I know that Georgia has a relatively open policy towards gambling so far. In this case, should we expect any changes?
Georgia’s parliament has approved an amendment to the law, which entered into force in the spring of this year (2021). The main changes include the introduction of supplier licensing, the requirement for licensed companies to be registered in Georgia, new technical requirements, and new fines for non-compliance. Endorphina is currently compliant with all local regulatory requirements; therefore, we are more than happy that Georgian operators can offer our games.
We are interested in the largest markets in CIS, namely Russia. Do you have some news from this country?
On May 26, the parliament of the Russian Federation adopted amendments to Federal Law No. 493 on the State Gambling Regulator. It demanded the creation of a Unified Accounting Centre for Accepting Interactive Bets, instead of the three independent units that serve bookmakers and totalizators today, as well as dramatic increases in payments to the government. Initially, operators were told to adopt the new system from September 27 this year (2021), but lawmakers have changed the day to October 1st to better suit quarterly accounting. Before the amendment, it was unclear how to calculate taxes for the third quarter. Changes have also been made to clarify what data bookmakers need to provide to regulators. Specifically, the definition of an "information system" was updated to include details of collecting, storing and categorizing appropriate data of each wager. Previously, the law had simply called for “data related to interactive bets.”
Do you have any closing remarks? Where do you see the CIS gambling market in five years?
The world is becoming regulated and CIS countries are no difference. Together with the accessibility of technologies, we can expect a massive increase of online gambling and online gambling regulations.