Kazakhstan Overhauling Gambling Regulations

The Kazakh government has recently announced that it will require all gambling operations in the country to submit direct reports on the profiles and gambling activities of Kazakhstani residents. This directive was officially approved by the Mazhilis, also known as Parliament, and added to Kazakhstan’s Tax Code. As per the new regulations, owners of betting companies and totalizators must transmit information about the size of bets, losses, and winnings to the tax authorities online.

Additionally, gambling operators licensed in Kazakhstan will have to integrate their software and hardware systems with those of the National Tax Authority to instantly transmit the necessary information about user activities. National banks will also be required to provide information on the processing of citizens’ gambling transactions within ten days, including details of balance transfers and individual transactions with gaming operators.

The push for stricter regulations on gambling in Kazakhstan was initiated by President Kassym Tokayev in response to concerns about the prevalence of gambling addiction among Kazakh youth and the public incurring debt due to addiction. Deputy Minister Yerzhan Erkinbayev conducted a detailed audit of the gambling laws and drafted amendments, including raising the gambling age limit from 21 to 25 and increasing the criminal accountability of gaming establishments for minor offenses.

Since gaining independence in 1991, Kazakhstan has lacked a dedicated legislative framework to regulate gaming. The country’s current regulatory policy, approved in 2007, permits the Akmola and Almaty provinces to operate state-owned casinos in authorized gambling zones.

Despite calls for significant changes, President Tokayev has yet to define plans to enact a separate gambling law in the country. The Ministry of Tourism and Sports in Kazakhstan has also indicated that it will propose a set of rules to tighten public access to gambling venues in response to concerns about the protection against gambling.

In conclusion, Kazakhstan’s government is taking significant steps to strengthen regulations and oversight of the gambling industry in order to address issues related to gambling addiction and debt.