Gambling legislation of the Republic of Belarus

Gambling industry in the Republic of Belarus is regulated by a range of decisions of the President of the Republic Belarus and acts of the Council of Ministers.

Article summary

  1. Gambling legislation of the Republic of Belarus

So, the Regulations on implementation of activities in the sphere of the gaming in the territory of the Republic of Belarus, approved by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus of 10.01.2005 №9, give the following definition: gambling business is the activity for gambling venues to get revenue in terms of winning, organization fee, holding or participating in gambling. According to the paragraph 3 of the Regulation, the Republic of Belarus legalizes four gambling types: betting shops activity, slot machines, betting pools and casinos.

Hereafter, the document determines six legal gambling types: betting, cards, dicing, slot machines, betting pool and roulette. The lottery is not concluded into the gambling industry.

According to the legislation, gambling business is an entrepreneurial activity, which requires a special authorization – the license. The main requirements for getting the license are: a chief, legal entity or private entrepreneur should have at least one year work experience in gambling business as a director (or deputy director) and certified gambling equipment in maintenance.

The cost of licenses for all gambling types is the same – 500 base values; according to the budget legislation:

2015

BYR 90 mln

around $ 4300

2016

BYR 105 mln

around $ 5000

 

License period – 10 years.

The Republic of Belarus imposes a special tax on the gambling activity

Gambling taxation objects are:

- gambling tables;

- slot machines;

- pool betting counters;

- betting shop counters.

Since January 1, 2016, gambling tax rate was increased to 15%. Given below are fixed gambling tax rates per taxation object unit:

Taxation object

Tax rate since January 1, 2016, BYR

Tax rate in 2015, BYR

gambling table

63 418 700

55 146 700

slot machine

2 415 300

2 100 300

 pool betting counter

6 500 700

5 652 800

betting shop counter

13 001 300

11 305 500

The following provisions were added to Article 173 of the Tax Code:

“Physical entities income tax rate is 4% in respect of winning revenue (regained untriggered bets), obtained by physical entities from gambling organizations, operating under the legislation”.

Thus, 4% income tax will be incurred from all winnings (regained untriggered bets) paid out to players, regardless their amount. Due to this fact, it is provided 4% reduced income tax rate instead of 13% generally established rate.

About 4% winning incomes taxes

A lot of industry experts and gambling representatives recognized that 4% tax provision, which became effective on January 1, 2016, was irrational and inappropriate.

In particular, betting shop representatives do not agree with this novelty. They sent a collective cancellation petition to the Ministry, grounded on the fact that the country doesn’t provide technical conditions for betting business operating due to the new tax conditions.

The government explained this initiative based on a range of factors. After analyzing casinos with compound taxation in 2014, fixed payment from the gambling table and tax on casino winning revenue between placed and paid-out bets were implemented. Remained delta is imposed by 4% tax. Due to the implemented cash registering system, analyzing these payouts, it was mentioned that some casinos made payments to strange physical entities, overrating their own costs, in order to reduce revenue tax. These individuals were, for example, from Chechnya, Dagestan and other region that provides almost no feedback. According to the government, it led to revenue tax reducing. This rate was offered in order to influence on such venues. Representatives of the Ministry think that this decision will help to adjust regulations for all gambling venues.

Gambling business tax revenues in 2014-1015

As of December 1, 2015, there were 26 casinos, 210 slot machine rooms and 251 betting shops in the Republic of Belarus. As compared to December 1, 2014, the amount of casinos decreased by 6 units, slot machines rooms – by 41, and the amount of betting shops increased by 26 units.

Dynamic pattern of the amount of gambling organizers and their gambling venues 

 

Data

The amount of licenses

The amount of operating gambling venues

Including:

casinos

slot machine rooms

betting shop counters

December 1, 2014

137

508

32

251

225

December 1, 2015

115

487

26

210

251

 

 

 

2015

Actual gambling tax receiving as of December 1, 2015, was BYR 387.8 bn, including a positive difference between the sum of accepted bets in gambling and paid-out winnings (regained untriggered bets) – BYR 61.1 bn. Gambling tax growth rate in comparable prices to the equivalent 2014 period was 89.1% under GDP deflator index.

According to the preliminary data of 2015, 32-35% of all gambling tax will be received from casino activity (taking into account only gambling tables).

The amount of gambling tax on gambling tables, calculated according to the fixed tax rate, in the period from January to November 2015 was BYR105.2 bn, or 32.3% of the total gambling tax revenue.

Comparing with January and November 2014 gambling tax increased by BYR 12.1 bn in actual prices. In the meantime, due to decreasing of the amount of utilized gambling tables (55 units less as of December 1, 2015, then of December 1, 2014), gambling tax expected revenue from gambling tables in January and November 2015 decreased by BYR 7.3 bn in comparison with the equivalent period of the previous year.

2016

The Republic of Belarus government budget was refilled by BYR 31 bn ($ 1.4 mln) in January 2026 due to implementing 4% gambling winning tax.

Belarusian establishments receive from 50 to 70% of revenue from foreign players, primarily from Russian tourists. At the end of the first half of the year, the country issued 116 gambling licenses.

Currently, 57 casinos, around 250 slot machine rooms and 239 betting shops operate in Belarus. In this year, the amount of licensees decreases, but the amount of operating venues increases. According to the Ministry of Taxation, as of January 1, 2016, 115 legal entities have gambling licenses, but only 102 of them actually operate.
 

Gambling venues control and supervision

Since December 1, 2013 in accordance with the Decree of the President of Republic of Belarus of 19.11.2010 N 599 “About some measures for improvement of the procedure of activity in the field of the gaming” and the Concept of development of the gambling business in the Republic of Belarus of 12.01.2011, № 31, the Specialized Computer Cash System (SCCS) was established in Belarus.

The Specialized Computer Cash System (SCCS) is a hardware and software complex containing the application software package that provides gambling area control through automatized transferring, receiving, registration, processing, traceability, accumulation and storage of data on completed operations. This system is also required for conducting cash operations with physical entities on obtaining and paying out money.

The Gaming Industry Monitoring Centre provides twenty-four-hour operation of the Specialized Computer Cash System.

Tax Control is conducted by the Ministry of Taxes ad Tax Collection of the Republic of Belarus and its territorial body, as well as bodies of the State Control Committee.

Article 12.1 “Violations of the gambling legislation” of the Code of Administrative offences of the Republic of Belarus provides responsibility for violations of gambling venues operating.

To protect citizens from ludomania (addiction to gambling) the country issued the Law about self-restriction. According to the law, each person who can’t overcome their problem gambling independently has a right to draw an appropriate document, according to which the casino won’t permit this person to play in casinos from 3 months to 3 years.

Online gambling in Belarus

As mentioned above, according to the paragraph 3, the Republic of Belarus legalizes 4 types of gambling business:

- betting shops;

- slot machine rooms;

- pool betting;

- casinos.

The Regulation doesn’t include online casino. Furthermore, according to paragraph 7 of the Regulation, gambling houses should be located in permanent structures or isolated rooms. That’s why, the Tax legislation considers that currently taxation objects include just gambling tables, slot machines, pool betting counters, betting shop counters in their physical representation. Hereinafter: the Regulation claims that gambling organization and operation, which aren’t prescribed in the legal acts, are prohibited in Belarus.

Thus, online gambling business is not legally regulated or, in other words, banned. 

But in 2011 the Council of Ministers approved the Concept of development of the gambling business in the Republic of Belarus of 12.01.2011, № 31, which prescribes that in the final stage of the Concept implementation the government will consider online gambling area legalization.

It is mentioned that if the project is implemented, all information about online games operating will be processed in the Specialized Computer Cash System in order to provide scrupulous control of all financial flows by the government.

Nevertheless, the Belarus citizens primarily gamble online on non-Belarus servers, i.e. on foreign online platforms without taxation. Online gambling is banned, but keep existing in the domain extension .com.

The government plans to make casinos government property or enterprises with the government having a controlling stake. And it prescribes not all kinds of gambling, but only pool betting, bingo and card games.

The most popular casinos in Belarus

The major part of all fully functional casinos is in the capital. More than 30 gambling houses operate in Minsk. There are several venues in other cities: in Brest – 6, Homel – 5, Mogilev – 3, Hrodna – 3, Vitebsk – 2 and one in Polotsk, Novopolotsk, Slonim, Baranavicy, Babruysk and Mozyr.

Given below is the correlation of gambling venues across Belarus regions on December 1, 2014:

Location of gambling venue

Casino

Slot machine rooms

Betting shops

1

Minsk City

20

151

174

2

Brest region

5

19

-

3

Vitebsk region

2

35

26

4

Homel' region

1

7

-

5

Hrodna region

2

12

4

6

Minsk region

-

13

1

7

Mogilev region

2

14

-

Total:

32

251

205

 

For the period of January – November 2015 the sum of actual gambling tax income was 387.8 bn rubles, which is 12.1 bn more than in 2014 during the equivalent period.

Tax gambling amount for the period from January to November 2015, bn rubles:

Minsk City – 217.3

Homel' region – 39.8

Brest region – 32.4

Mogilev region – 31.9

Vitebsk region – 28.2

Hrodna region – 21.4

Minsk region – 16.6

One of the biggest casinos of the capital is Victoria Cherry located in the European style hotel complex with a high level service.

One more famous place is Grand Bellagio providing several cards tables, roulette tables and 87 slots. Diamond Princess casino is in the center of the Minsk in the Crowne Plaza hotel. Minsk Casino Royal is also very popular.

MILLENNIUM gambling house offers a large variety of games, perfect service, regular special offers and twenty-four-hour guest support. One more top casino – Shangri La- is the part of the Storm International group and provides the highest level of comfort, service, privacy and security.

Avrora and Zolotaya fishka (Golden token) are popular casinos in Vitebsk.

Olympic and Maxwell club are popular casinos in Brest.

Europe casino, Canyon club and the oldest Belarus Admiral casino are in Homel.

Metelitsa casino is in Mogilev.