Armenian parliament debates cash gambling ban

As Armenian lawmakers take an increasingly confrontational stance against the betting and gaming industry in the country, legislators are now considering a clampdown on payment methods. 

Reports from the country have detailed that Armenia’s parliament is considering a ban on cash gambling, including through payment terminals, with prohibition on ewallet transactions apparently to follow six months later. 

The debates around the legislative change revolves around the imposition of the ‘Civil Contract’ Bill – if imposed the only bank transactions will be permitted as a means of fundings for gambling. 

Supporters of the legislation have stated that the changes would form part of the government’s wider campaign against problem gambling. 

“The main target of the bill is citizens who are socially vulnerable but at the same time have gambling addiction, which worsens their social condition,” said MP Gevorg Papoya, a proponent of the legislative changes. 

“If the law takes effect, the cash option will be banned. Then, after six months, the e-money option will also be banned, leaving only the bank transaction, meaning the non-cash payment option.

“Being an adult is a mandatory condition for having a bookmaking account, an age threshold is in place for having a bank account as well. Therefore, the participation of minors will not be possible.”

The Armenian government’s proposals for gambling reform in the country have so far primarily targeted advertising, with Finance Minister Armen Hayrapetyan proposing amendments to federal gambling law

Should the changes be approved by the National Assembly, a blackout ban on betting and gaming advertising will be implemented, with marketing limited to four-star and above hotels, border checkpoints and ‘in the front of buildings carrying out the similar business activities’.

In February, 56 MPs voted in favour of the changes. If implemented, the restrictions will bring Armenia’s advertising restrictions in line with other stringent regulations, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Georgia.

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