Last week, the Ministry of Economy of Kyrgyzstan proposed a whole package of bills legalizing gambling. According to the bill, only foreigners over 21 years of age can be clients of gambling sites. That is, the citizens of Kyrgyzstan (just over 6.5 million people) cannot gamble.
How Is the Bill Written?
The CIS countries alternately compete among themselves who will make their gambling law more similar to the Russian one. Kyrgyzstan has not become an exception in this regard – the presented draft law on a set of definitions took some provisions from the Russian legislation, and some from the legislation of Kazakhstan.
It should be noted that the authors of the bill made an attempt to implement some elements of responsible gambling tools, for example, a ban on gambling on credit. Such provisions can indeed be called breakthroughs in the territory of the former USSR countries. At the same time, there is no such basic instrument of responsible gambling as self-restraint (which exists in the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan).
What is Missing from the Bill?
The bill is extremely focused on the regulation of the land-based gambling business and practically does not reflect the specifics of online operations. In addition, provisions that have already proved ineffective in other markets as mandatory requirements for the licensee do not inspire much confidence.
Like most legislations of the CIS countries, the draft law deals very superficially with the instruments of responsible gambling.
Separately, it is worth discussing the provision that the citizens of Kyrgyzstan do not have the right to participate in gambling. Apparently, it is dictated by the desire of the state to start receiving some taxes and revenues from operators, but at the same time to protect the local population from the gambling business. Such a move could reduce the negative connotations among the local community, which would significantly increase the likelihood of the bill being passed.
The bill also provides for a relatively low “reserve fund” – in the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, for a betting company, it will be about 11 thousand dollars. Since the market will be quite closed from the point of view of customers, then the obligations of operators to customers will be significantly less. But conceptually, the size is really small – for example, in France, the operator is obliged to maintain such a size of the “reserve fund”, which corresponds to the amount of accepted rates. And relatively speaking, the operator does not have the right to accept rates if their size exceeds the “reserve fund”.
Prospects for the Kyrgyz Market
The current situation in the country is certainly characterized by a large volume of offshore operations and the presence of illegal offers on land, since otherwise the state would not be looking towards legalization.
At the same time, if, after all, online operations are not prohibited, and only foreigners can be accepted, Kyrgyzstan, with the support of payment systems, has certain chances to become the new Curacao due to some inaccuracy of certain wordings.