Solving the issue of ludomania and excessive distribution of gambling offers, the authorities faced a choice — introducing a total ban or placing casinos on closed reservations. The authorities won by selecting the latter option. An immediate reduction of illegal clubs and a sharp increase in inflows to the budget were noticed. Only in the first 5 years of the sector’s legalised work did revenues increase 8 times.
We will share the latest news and amendments to the legal regulation system, describe the main nuances of running a gaming business there and forecast the industry's further development.
Until 1917, the entertainment sector was represented only by card games organised exclusively in closed private establishments. The state had almost no influence on the development of the industry. The only exception was lottery drawings, which were under the control of a special regulator.
Slot machines became a mass phenomenon only by 1989, and specialised gambling houses opened 4 years later.
The development of the industry was huge, and by 1998, the market was overflowing with various proposals. The situation became critical, and in 2000, the authorities decided to transfer gambling locations to specialised areas (the innovation did not affect bookmakers and sweepstakes).
This situation created favourable conditions with healthy competition. Currently, there are 2 main locations in the country:
Now the issue of opening another reservation is also being decided.
In 2015 alone, the authorised body of the Republic of Kazakhstan issued 76 licences, of which:
The sphere's annual turnover is about $810 million from casinos and about $160 million from betting and sweepstakes.
Since 2018, enhanced charge rates have been applied in the country:
The doubling of gambling taxes in Kazakhstan produced a twofold result: the segment shrank by more than 17%, while payments to the budget exceeded the forecast by more than 2 times.
Since January 2019, another innovation has emerged: gambling business owners must pay a value-added contribution. Those enterprises whose income exceeds 30 thousand MCI (monthly calculation index) must become taxpayers.
From 2020, it is planned to introduce a corporate tax instead of mandatory payment (commission fees depending on the amount of equipment).
Some restrictions are directed not only to operators but also to players. Since 2014, gamblers must pay a flat tax on their winnings. For example, earnings over $1,100 are charged a 10% fee.
The attitude towards the lottery industry in the country is more loyal. Since 2016, the authorised state body has been licensing operators in the niche. In this case, the business owner cannot conduct third-party entrepreneurial activity.
Kazakh legislative norms and modifications aim to total control of the wagering sector and have already brought good results. In addition to being a regular source of treasury replenishment, the gaming market in the state has become an auspicious investment project for foreign entrepreneurs.
The local authorities adhere to the classic casino management model borrowed from the United States. Opening an entertainment project in Kazakhstan requires only 2 standard steps: submitting an application and buying a licence.
Here are the main requirements for the applicant:
The application for licensing is considered for about a month.
Let us see the most prestigious venues in the country:
The institution is proudly called the biggest and most luxurious gambling club in Central Asia. Players are offered the broadest range of bets — from small to very large (even compared to European indicators). More than 50 tables with various card and board games are available.
The only nuance of visiting the establishment is that each client needs to spend at least $500 on chips.
The second most crucial location has 38 gaming tables. The casino was one of the first to appear after the law entered into force on gambling zones. Being only 80 kilometres from Alma-Ata, the gaming house hosts thousands of punters from all over the country monthly and is always happy to welcome foreign guests.
A unique feature of the institution is a rare offer you will not find in every European casino. There are also an excellent slot machine room and a VIP zone for connoisseurs of high-stakes games.
The club owners focused on table entertainment, especially brightly presenting poker and many game variations. Furthermore, punters can always enjoy classic roulette and baccarat there.
On the institution's territory, there is a 4-star hotel, a private beach, a swimming pool and a chain of restaurant complexes.
More than 13 legal casinos with a full range of entertainment successfully operate in gaming zones.
The situation with virtual entertainment in the country is ambiguous. An unquestioning ban on the organisation of web casinos has been introduced in Kazakhstan. However, this measure only applies to local businessmen and does not affect virtual betting shops.
Numerous loopholes in the law allow the conduct of web gambling activities without the slightest risk of persecution by the state. The current act describes a casino as using a hardware and software complex located on the territory of the Kazakh Republic.
Ambitious entrepreneurs can interpret the norm in their favour. When using a technical and software base placed outside the state, the activity of the resource is not subject to a ban.
Although the latest news of the local sector causes great resonance, the country's territory remains a fairly profitable option for developing the wagering market.
The following factors contribute to the inflow of foreign investment:
At the moment, the situation in the gaming market of the Republic of Kazakhstan is as follows:
Type of entertainment activity
Legality of the sphere
Work only on the territory of special reservations
Lotteries and sweepstakes
The operator is not entitled to engage in other business activities
Both ground locations and digital resources are available
The internet gambling ban applies only to local operators
We also offer consulting services and assistance in the collection and execution of legal documentation. The gambling market of Kazakhstan is a promising area with many profitable opportunities.
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