Gambling business development in the former Soviet Union countries has got certain typical features. Armenian gambling industry is an appropriate example.
Armenia: to be, or not to be
Armenian gambling industry was attacked by the new country’s leadership, which came to power after «velvet revolution». All gambling industry’s limiting innovations, which either have been implemented or planned over the past year, are related to the policy changes. They include the decision on the gambling institutions functioning within the special gambling zones, the betting companies operation restrictions, as well as the some gambling advertising forms prohibition (online casino) and other lottery operations restrictions.
Globally, the situation quintessence may be expressed just in one sentence – the concept, which claims the state economy fundament, consists of three pillars, one of which is gambling, does not suit us.
Betting companies restriction and step-by-step closure
It can be stated, that the current approach is more robust, than the one, used in Ukraine with the casino closure, relatively the way Armenia says goodbye to betting business. Firstly, those funds, which have been transferred as tax deductions from betting operations, must be replaced by something, from an economic point of view. Secondly, the market curtailment is more correct, than a sharp prohibition for those companies, which were licensed, provided the services, paid taxes and supported sports organizations.
Armenia’s betting companies have some time until November 2020. Then their activities will either be concentrated in gambling zones or transferred to the online format. The latter option may seem quite good alternative since online gambling is gradually crowding out the land industry, outstripping traditional gambling institutions by development speed all over the world. However, all is a bit more complicated. In fact, they will fail while competing with the international operators on the market, according to Armenian bookmakers’ opinion.
Gambling zones creation
Armenia is going to create four gambling zones – in Sevan, Jermuk, Meghri and Tsaghkadzor. The current regions were due to the fact three of them are different variations in terms of resorts while the fourth – Meghri – is famous by its historical sites.
As for us, we are sure, such choice is successful, since it is tested on multiple foreign countries’ background basis, including Russian Federation, where the most successful gambling zone is located in Sochi. In addition, casinos most likely will involve a large tourists number and will allow the related industries development, while following Georgia’ example.
The gambling products advertising restriction is a trend, which can be traced around the world. In Europe, the question on the way to take away the legal entrepreneur’s right to provide his product and involve customers, was discussed rather actively. Therefore, the partial restriction, but not a complete prohibition, is the best option, given all the risks, related to the minors’ and gambling addicts’ rights observance. What happened in Armenia?
The gambling advertising can be shown only at night, outdoor advertising is allowed only in the logo form, while videos duration should be no longer than 3 minutes and must contain a splash screen with the gambling dangers info, according to the new rules.
The attitude to gambling has been completely revised over the past year. The industry is gradually being squeezed out into gambling zones and they introduce certain restrictions, which are poorly comparable with the industry development in multiple respects. It worth mentioning, the political course is aimed at the earning opportunity prevention while cooperating with gambling companies, despite the fact that the state treasury is likely to lose the tax deductions part.