Things are Looking Brighter in Belarus with New Proposals

Published July 27, 2018 by Lee R

Things are Looking Brighter in Belarus with New Proposals

Russia’s small economy neighbour clearly stands to benefit from an economic boost that iGaming regulation surely could bring.

A fresh initiative to move regulation forward in Belarus has entered the country’s Parliament.

The New Proposal

Minister of Taxes and Levies in Belarus Sergei Nalivaiko has introduced a new bill for regulation of gambling websites in Belarus, an Eastern European nation where consumers can access only unregulated gambling websites. 

Guidelines

Nalivaiko’s new draft sets out steps to legalise online gaming by proposing regulatory provisions for such activities through a state-run online gambling portal model for overseeing the management of related taxes.

Nalivaiko suggests fixed rates for gambling tax for three years running without change.

Revenue estimates according to this plan have Belarus bringing in up to $6m (€5.1m) in tax within those first three years of online gaming regulation, 

Other provisions include giving operators a full year to adjust to the new regulations, at which time estimates have the new draft bill being passed into full law.

As for protecting citizens, the bill seeks to raise the legal gambling age from 18 to 21 years.

After three years, Nalivaiko did call for “additional investments needed to organize a new type of activity in the gambling business.”

New Movement Afoot

The measures to a more open approach to regulation have been rumoured since last December, when Belarus opted to legalise cryptocurrencies, ICOs and smart contracts.

The new proposals come on the heels of the floating of a plan through the Parliament by Nalivaiko’s ministry to allow local operators to add online casino games to existing online wagering, while blocking access to locally unlicensed international operators and further requiring international operators to have servers based on Belarusian soil.

Shifting Land-scape

At this point, local operators have been struggling in a regulation-less landscape. U Admirala casino operators Novo-Br in Minsk initiated bankruptcy proceedings last month, after being unable to pay state taxes and staff wages for some time. 

Into that breach has stepped M1 Casino General Manager Alexei Popov to head Belarus’ newest land-based gaming venue.

After opening in March in eastern border town Sudilovichi, the M1 venue has proven a haven for players from Russia who can drive from Moscow down the M1 highway to play, an estimated 80% of M1’s patrons to date.

Outlook

Hopefully, the new regulations under consideration in Parliament can provide a leading model for regulation that can further bolster tax and social benefits that the Belarus economy stands to gain from further gaming regulation online. 

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