Kyrgyzstan adopts law on land-based and online casinos for foreigners

With 59 votes in favor and 7 against, Kyrgyzstan’s highly anticipated gambling bill was finally passed. Although it currently only covers the needs of overseas gamblers, the new legislation marks a landmark decision and gives hope to gamblers in the country that banned gambling in 2012 and 2015.

Bill passed third reading

The law that re-legalizes gambling in the Kyrgyz Republic has passed its third reading, after being blocked by several MPs. At the end of a break during which President Talant Mamytov prepared the bill for another voting session, the legislation finally passed. MPs Aigul Aidarova, Adakhan Madumarov, Ishack Masaliev and Emil Toktoshev abstained from voting.

Dastan Bekeshev of the Law and Order Committee wanted the online gambling initiative removed from the bill. His proposal hit a brick wall. The same MP also wanted to ban online gambling outside dedicated gambling venues, but his proposal was again rejected.

The new legislation covers a wide range of forms of gambling. Among them are casinos that were legal before 2012, slots and sports betting that were allowed in the country before the 2015 decision to shut them down. Parliament has also decided to enter the era of iGaming and to legalize online casino games as well. However, all decisions only target foreign players visiting the country.

Conditions for land-based casinos

The new bill mentions that physical casinos should only be installed inside hotel complexes and restaurants with a minimum of 100 seats for restaurants and 20 rooms for hotels. Slot rooms should also be separated from other business-related activities through building rooms and amenities.

Casinos located in the Kyrgyz capital must also accommodate a minimum of ten gaming tables. Casinos outside the capital must have at least five gaming tables. Finally, slot machine rooms are required to offer a minimum of 30 machines with a return to player of at least 75%. Slot machines and casinos must have exchange offices with a license issued by the national bank, as well as the necessary security measures. Players will not be permitted to use credit cards or take out loans to play, with the exception of land-based slots.

The bill now awaits the approval of the country’s president, Sadyr Japarov. Provided Japarov signs it, the legislation will be implemented within six months of its publication. The Council of Ministers will set up a regulatory body and establish license fees 30 days after publication.

Earlier this year, Kyrgyzstan planned to have its National Lottery run by a consortium of companies in Serbia.