Armenia prohibits the use of cash and payment terminals for all games of chance

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Posted: May 26, 2022, 8:49 a.m.

Last update: May 26, 2022, 9:26 a.m.

In a move that will completely change the landscape of the country, Armenia has approved a cash ban for all types of gambling. This decision is an attempt to trace all transactions and reduce harm from gambling.

Shangri La Casino in Armenia
Shangri La Casino in Armenia. It, along with all other land-based and online gambling options, can no longer accept cash for gambling. (Photo: Shangri La Casino)

The Armenian Parliament is fulfilling its mission to suppress the gambling industry. It has amended its laws on land-based gambling, online gambling, casinos and lotteries.

The amendment restricts the methods of reloading user accounts in virtually all types of games that can yield winnings. This automatically complicates the betting mechanics in gambling.

MPs Gevorg Papoyan and Tsovinar Vardanyan from the “Civil Contract” political party introduced the bill. He then received the approval of 67 deputies, representing more than half of the workforce. The new rules come into effect in 10 days.

Cleaning up the gaming industry

Papoyan said the main objective of the project is to protect citizens who are prone to gambling addiction. They are likely to suffer further financial harm and their social status continues to deteriorate.

He noted that this severely limits citizens’ ability to make easy bets. This will force them to think twice before playing. It also increases the monitoring of gambling spending and winnings.

Electronic money and payment terminals will disappear for gambling. These will disappear after six months and consumers will only be able to receive gambling winnings by bank transfer.

Because of the bill, we have imposed certain restrictions. Currently, bets can be placed in three ways: cash, e-money and cashless via bank accounts or cards. Immediately after the entry into force of the law, cash will be excluded from the method. After another six months, the electronic money payment method will be excludedsaid MP Gevorg Papoyan.

Papoyan has been pushing for the changes over the past two months. In April, he addressed the Armenian parliament, again seeking support. As well as reducing the harms of gambling, he said, the measure will also prevent young people from gambling. Only adults can open and manage bank accounts.

The success of the initiative will only be determined over time. There are many online casinos and sportsbooks that accept cryptocurrency.

Armenia has access to several cryptocurrency exchanges that can facilitate the purchase of digital currency for further use on these platforms. There are also other ways to circumvent the controls.

Armenia takes a tough stance on gambling

Armenia now has one of the tightest legal gambling markets following the acceptance of the new rules. It added to its restrictive nature a few months ago when lawmakers approved a measure to ban virtually all types of gambling advertising.

In March, Armenia’s parliament approved a series of new restrictions on gambling advertising. He approved the law by 63 votes in favor and 24 abstentions in the second and final reading.

The new legislation restricts gambling advertising by casinos, lotteries, bookmakers or other organizations that offer gambling. Gambling advertising will only be permitted in four-star hotels or above, at border crossings, on company websites and on the facade of buildings offering gambling.

Deputy Finance Minister Armen Hayrapetyan, who tabled the amendments, explained that the restrictions are the same as in 2020. Next, operators could only advertise through the same four methods approved in March.

The changes have drawn widespread criticism not only from operators, but also from advertising agencies. The latter argued that they generate around 60-70% of their income through online gambling. However, the Armenian government said the figure was only 20-25%.

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