Belarus is finally stepping up its efforts to breathe fresh life into the creaky bones of its gambling industry. A new set of regulatory measures are underway, which will help the country see many of its outlawed or heavily regulated gaming segments become more liberal.
The state media outlet BelTA has reported that Sergei Nalivaiko, who is heading the Tax Ministry, is working on a piece of legislation which will address the issues that prevent Belarus from seeing a more liberal market. However, Mr Nalivaiko is also concerned about the social implications of legalizing gambling, and the legal age is likely to increase to 21, from 18 presently.
Bring the Tax In
The mulled regulatory changes will also have an effect on how gambling operators are taxed. According to the news released, Belarus will now possibly issue licenses to its operators, but also levy their revenue with tax in order to bolster anti-addiction campaigns and to add to the state’s coffers.
However, the change will not be out of the blue either. Nalivaiko has announced that if the licenses kick in, the operators won’t be left out of the legal framework. Instead, they will be issued 2-year permits to help them adjust their operations according to the newly-issued legal provisos. Meanwhile, gambling restructuring has been going on in neighboring countries, too.
This hasn’t been the first time when Nalivaiko has tried to push for a more meaningful regulation of the industry He floated similar plans in September when he wanted to see operators branch out in the online segment as well, although moderately. However, such operations would require all companies to have their servers physically present in Belarus.
What Future for the Tax?
The new legislation has also specified, or at the very least hinted, that the tax laws that apply currently to operators of gambling services will remain the same over the course of the next three years.
Some casinos have gone under in recent years, including Novo-BR. Still, fresh blood has come to the sector’s rescue. M1 Casino has been one of the newest properties to open doors in Belarus and it’s also easily accessible from Moscow, Russia, as it’s located on the M1 highway, which links Belarus to Russia directly.
The relative patchiness of the regulations in Russia is definitely not making it easy for operators to run their actions, but M1 has the added benefit of operating within Belarus and be comfortably located should Moscowians want to nip down for a bit of a journey and wager. A notion that’s been confirmed by the clientele of the casino, with 80% of the people playing being Russian.
Gusp of Fresh Air for the Casinos
The change is much welcomed indeed. It’s the first time that Belarus has decided to hew closer to what many western countries do about their gambling industry. Taxing the proceeding and creating a careful betting climate are important pillars.
Of course, some critics have had reasons to remark that the culture of cronyism in the country is quite pervasive and that is, in fact, a thing to be worried about.