Opening of a Casino in Kyrgyzstan: the Development of a New Gambling Market

Andrew Price
Posted by Andrew Price
2WinPower Partner, owner of the gambling establishments network.

On April 21, 2021, it became officially legal to offer casino games in Kyrgyzstan. The majority of members of the Jogorku Kenesh (parliament) voted for the existence of this kind of activity within the country’s territory — 68 out of 91.

Casino in Kyrgyzstan: legalisation

The 2WinPower team has gathered comprehensive information on the development path of a new gambling market. We will also tell you what benefits the legalisation of this type of business will bring to the Kyrgyz government and population.

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History of the Industry Creation

The first casinos and bookmaker’s offices in Kyrgyzstan appeared in the early 90s, right after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The market was practically not regulated by the government and developed chaotically.

The first statutory instruments that were aimed at controlling the industry were introduced in 2009 — the country recognised poker as mind sports.

After the passage of the law 10 years ago, gambling was completely banned. Land-based casinos in Kyrgyzstan have been nonexistent over a period of the following 4 years.

In 2015, the government revoked the licences of bookmakers and sweepstakes. The only available type of gambling was the People's Lottery, owned by the state monopoly.

The first attempts to “revive” the gambling business in Kyrgyzstan were made in 2016. The deputies submitted a proposal to open a gambling club in the Manas international airport. The initiative was not supported by the parliament, and the construction project was postponed for an indefinite period.

In 2021, the members of parliament voted for the legalisation of the gambling market. Moreover, the country decided to follow the example of the Russian Federation and organise a restricted gambling area remote from major administrative facilities.

What Will the Kyrgyz Casino Market Look Like: the Legislation Enacted in 2021

Kyrgyz gambling market after the legislation in 2021

According to the new law, the country will have the only gambling zone in the Tamchy international airport that is located in the Issyk Kul region.

1,200 hectares of land will be allocated for the construction of casinos. In total, it is planned to build 7 facilities and hotel chains within the territory of the area.

The gambling business in Tamchy will be supervised by a separate authority under the control of the local parliament. Legislative rules introduced for the restricted area will not apply to other regions of the country.

The main excerpts from the bill are the following:

  1. Currency transactions. On the territory of gambling establishments, it will be possible to make payments in any foreign currency upon a mutual agreement of the parties.
  2. Visa-free regime. Land-based casinos in Tamchy will be able to receive foreign visitors under a simplified visa-free system. To access the gambling clubs, it will be enough to have an international passport and be over 21 years old.
  3. Staffing. One of the aims of the legalisation of gambling in Kyrgyzstan is the creation of new job opportunities. The staff of each casino must consist of at least 50% of local specialists. 10% of the country's residents will be accounted for by the board of directors.
  4. Limited access. Gambling halls in Issyk Kul will work only with foreign traffic — the local population is not allowed to enter the casino.
  5. Commissions and the tax rate. Any land-based casino in Kyrgyzstan must deduct up to 40% of its income to the public treasury. This figure includes the cost of the licence and mandatory annual fees.

Requirements for the Applicants

The regulatory framework that will control the industry is in the development stage. It is too early to talk about specific requirements for the applicants who will want to obtain a gambling licence but some preparatory work can still be done.

Framework conditions for the opening of a casino in Kyrgyzstan

Legal arrangements

The company must be registered in the country. At least 10% of the project management team must be local residents

Reserve funds

Bank accounts of the business owner will be registered by local authorities. Also, the investor must explain the origin of the funds and prove the honesty of his financial source

Geolocation requirements

Slot machines in Kyrgyzstan will only be available in one region. It will be strictly prohibited to work outside the restricted area

Business line

The bill only provides for the opening of casinos in Issyk Kul. The betting business and lotteries are still considered to be the state monopoly

Attendance control

It is possible to establish a gambling business in Tamchy only if you are planning to work with foreign clients over 21 years old. Operators should not allow the local population to play slot machines

Prospects of the New Market

Legalisation of gambling in Kyrgyzstan: prospects

According to forecasts of the parliament, the legalisation of gambling in Kyrgyzstan will bring about 600 million soms a year to the public treasury and create more than 11 thousand job opportunities.

The local government offers investors the following conditions:

  • good tourist infrastructure (the country is famous for its mountain resorts);
  • stable political and economic environment;
  • increase in foreign customers (in all neighbouring countries, casino games are strictly prohibited);
  • loyal tax burden;
  • simplified visa-free regime.

The Main Things about the Legalisation of Gambling in Kyrgyzstan

The parliament has carefully studied the world’s experience that is related to the regulation of the casino business and chose to create restricted areas.

Characteristics of the new legal gambling market:

  • Geolocation. Investors can open a casino in the Issyk Kul region near the Tamchy airport. The area of ​​the future facility is 1,200 hectares.
  • Access to games for money. It is possible to launch a gambling project in Kyrgyzstan only if you are focused on the attraction of foreign traffic; the local population cannot visit casinos.
  • Simplified visa regime. Any foreign gambler over 21 years old can enter the restricted area if he has an international passport.

The 2WinPower team will be glad to help you to establish a land-based business of any format.

We offer:

  • consultations on the selection of an offshore company;
  • legal support and assistance in collecting documents;
  • support during the registration of premises;
  • hardware equipment from the industry leaders;
  • casino software;
  • cash register equipment and self-service terminals;
  • security systems;
  • furniture, and much more.

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