Kazakhstan Tightens Gambling Business Restrictions With Amended Law

ASTANA — Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed legislative amendments on July 8 to tighten the country’s gambling and lottery regulations.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Photo credit: Akorda

The law introduces restrictive and stimulating norms aimed at decreasing gambling addiction among the population. The list of those who cannot gamble or bet has been expanded. Restrictions have been established on advertising of bookmakers and sweepstakes.

The law updated mechanisms for regulating lottery activities. In particular, a ban has been introduced on the distribution of lottery tickets and the installation of lottery terminals in residential buildings, dormitories, religious buildings, buildings and structures of cultural organizations, and social facilities, including within a 100-meter radius of them.

To protect the health of the younger generation from the consequences of consuming energy drinks, selling these beverages to anyone under the age of 21 is prohibited.

State Counselor Erlan Karin commented that the law was part of the initiatives proposed at the National Kurultai in March in Atyrau.

“One of the biggest accomplishments is the implementation of restrictive measures for those listed in the Unified Register of Debtors, which totals over 3.5 million people. The document also provides for the rehabilitation of citizens suffering from gambling addiction,” Karin wrote on his Telegram channel on July 8.

In his Atyrau speech, Tokayev called the problem of gambling addiction one of the main social evils.

“The worst thing is that gaming addiction is rapidly growing among our youth, causing the breakdown of young families and serving as the root cause of numerous crimes. With the new law, our state puts a powerful barrier against this social evil,” Yerlan Koshanov, the chairman of the Mazhilis, a lower chamber of the Kazakh Parliament, wrote in a Facebook post on July 8.   

Another key step is a restriction on internet gambling activity in Kazakhstan. This is a criminal offense punishable by up to two years in jail. The Ministry of Tourism and Sports is empowered to keep track of any overseas bookmakers and sweepstakes that lack licenses, and banks and payment institutions are barred from making financial transactions in their favor.

“The elaboration of this law and the participation of the entire society in it gives confidence that the document signed by the President will meet all expectations and significantly improve the health of our society. Deputies will continue to keep this subject under close control,” Koshanov wrote.

Previously, Kazakhstan introduced a law prohibiting vape sales and distribution and laws amending penalties for violence against women and children, as well as human trafficking, vandalism, and property damage. 

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