On April 1, 2019, online casinos started to operate legally in Belarus. New rules for gambling platforms have been set by the law “On the improvement of legal regulation of the gambling business” signed on August 7, 2018.
How has gambling been developing in Belarus?
Gambling started its way to development in Belarus in 2009. That was the year when Russia passed the law banning casinos, so Belarus opened its market for Russian citizens.
However, over the period from 2015 to 2017, the gambling business has been slowly decreasing. In two years, the number of casinos has dropped from 32 to 24, and the number of licensed operators has declined by 27. Moreover, the amount of gambling rooms and slot machines has decreased significantly.
In 2018, the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree which gave operators an opportunity to start and develop online gambling businesses.
What has changed?
Games. According to the new decree, it is legal to start and develop betting offices, online casinos, slot machine rooms, land-based casinos and sweepstakes in the country. Operators are able to conduct online card games, bingo, slots, roulettes, as well as accept bets online.
Starting and running a gambling business. Online casino licenses are controlled by the Ministry of Tax and Duties of the Republic of Belarus. To get a license, an online gambling business operators have to:
- оpen a bank account;
- register the domain name in Belarus;
- provide a report from the expert stating that online casino meets the requirements;
- have a certificate stating that data protection systems meet the information protection demands;
- provide papers with casino operators identities;
- pay state duty.
All the online casinos money operations are monitored by the so-called special computer cash system (SCCS). By August 1, 2019, all gambling platforms have to use the software, as the system is responsible for registering and controlling deposits and pay-outs.
Gambling business can only be organized by a legal entity of the Republic of Belarus, while a license can only be obtained after two years working in a land-based casino.
Players. The decree changed the minimum age of gamblers. The legal age of casino players raised from 18 to 21 years in order to minimize negative consequences. The age is now determined by the players’ identification.
Taxes. Starting from April 1, the gambling business tax equals 4%, and the income tax rate equals 4% and is levied on all the winnings.
According to the decree, by April 1, 2021, players from Belarus will not be able to gamble on foreign websites, as international gambling platforms will be blocked. Citizens of Belarus will get a large offer of various games on the legal gambling platforms, which will decrease the cash outflow from the country.
Still, foreign operators will get a chance to buy a company with two years of gambling experience in Belarus. This way, they will obtain gambling license, keep players and ensure new cash inflow.
Apart from that, raising the players’ legal age and imposing industry regulations, Belarus will protect casino users from frauds and will get closer to more responsible gambling.