Publication date: 05 Jul 2022
The gambling market in Belarus is booming every year, and the country’s authorities are gradually creating optimal conditions for its development. Even now, the country has passed a law allowing online casinos and betting shops to operate legally. Following the legalisation of gambling and betting, the number of operators that have become part of the Belarusian gambling industry has grown immediately.
How are gambling and betting regulated in Belarus?
The first document regulating gambling in Belarus was Decree No. 9 of President Alexander Lukashenko “On Approval of the Regulation on the Activities in the Sphere of Gambling Business” dated 10.01.2005. In August 2018, this document was amended to clarify the norms of organisation and conduction of online gambling in Belarus.
Thus, several online types of gambling are now officially allowed in the Republic of Belarus:
- bookmaking (sports betting);
- online card games.
The law allows not only land-based casinos and sports betting facilities, but also the maintenance of a virtual gambling establishment. This requires a special permit (license) to operate a gambling business. How to get a gambling license of the Republic of Belarus?
The regulator of gambling in the country is the Ministry of Taxes and Duties. The registers of special licenses are posted on its website.
Immediately after the adoption of the law with all its amendments, the list was published monthly, but as of now (November 2021) the last entry is dated July 2020. It lists the only company that has received permits to operate a virtual gambling establishment is Status Quo LLC. The site is located at pm.by and operates under the PariMatch brand. Here you can find a full range of gambling services: sports betting, slots, live casino.
Another document “On the state of gambling business in the Republic of Belarus as of July 1, 2021” indicates that the number of online establishments legally operating in the country is 8.
Even more interestingly, the Unified Registry of Licences of Belarus, states that 12 companies have valid licences for Type of Activity / Activities in the field of gambling, Services / Maintenance of virtual gambling establishment. Among them are both well-known brands (BetCity, Marathon, BizonBet, Golden Faraon, WinLine (AlMach LLC), and local betting companies PlusMinus (from 25.10.2021 doesn’t accept bets), Grand (casino and betting company), MaxLine. One more important point to note: companies that have opened an online casino or a betting shop in Belarus, may have different forms of organisation: either LLC or PE.
All casino and betting sites, having the right to operate legally in Belarus, must be placed in the .by domain zone. In case of operating without a license, the site is blocked by the Ministry of Information on the basis of notifications from the tax authorities. As of June 2021, 80 virtual casino and betting sites have been blocked in the country.
What taxes do casinos and bookmakers in Belarus pay?
All gambling establishments in the Republic of Belarus must be connected to a special computerised cash register system, which ensures the control of turnover in the gambling business. This system allows not only to protect players (registration of receipt of funds and payment of winnings), but also to obtain data on the cash turnover of each casino or bookmaker. Companies operating in the area of land-based gambling are obliged to make monthly payments from each gambling facility: gaming tables, slots. For this category of gambling establishments, the rates of tax on gambling business in the autumn of 2021 are as follows:
- 7,140 Belarusian roubles – for a gaming table;
- 240 Belarusian rouble – for a slot machine;
- 2,250 Belarusian roubles – for a sweepstake cash desk
- 1,500 Belarusian roubles – to a bookmaker’s office.
Payment of tax on gambling business is made not later than the 22nd of the month following the expired tax period.
For gambling establishments operating online in Belarus, there is a gambling tax of 4% on the positive difference between the amount of funds credited by players to their gaming accounts, minus the amount of winnings paid out (returned unplayed bets).
Players are also liable to pay taxes. According to chapter 18 of the Tax Code of the Republic of Belarus it is necessary to pay 4% income tax on each winning. The tax is withheld by the organiser of gambling at the actual payment of winnings (returned unplayed bets) and then transferred to the budget.
When such income is received, the user is obliged to reflect it in the income and property declaration.
According to the data of the Ministry of Taxes and Duties on the state of gambling business in the Republic of Belarus as of 1 July 2021, the budget of the Republic received:
- 23.3 million roubles – income of gambling operators;
- 21.1 million roubles – taxes paid by the players themselves.
In 2020, these figures are as follows:
- gambling tax receipts – 39.6 million roubles;
- income tax on winnings – 37.6 million roubles.
The official website of the Ministry of Finance has published the document “On Amending Certain Laws of the Republic of Belarus”, which provides for revision of a number of provisions of the Tax Code. The changes should come into force gradually from January 1, 2022 to January 1, 2023. The document states that there are plans to increase tax rates by 10% for companies operating in the gambling business.
The Belarusian authorities are ready to amend the decree “On Approval of the Regulation on Conducting Activities in the Gambling Business”. Following an examination by the Ministry of Taxes and Levies, it is proposed to:
- Allow the use of cryptocurrency for payments in the gambling business;
- to lower the age limit for players at online casinos and online bookmakers from 21 to 18;
- Introduce a self-exclusion system.
Proposals to improve settlements are also in development: the procedure for paying out winnings in cash and the introduction of payment service aggregator. In addition, there is a need to clarify certain aspects of the organization of gambling in Belarus: there is a need to develop requirements for live-studios and to specify the procedure for determining the IP-address of the device, from which the game is conducted.
Recall that in 2022 the Belarusian authorities raised tax rates on gambling. The tax at the box office of a betting company was raised to 1650 thousand Belarusian roubles (instead of 1500 thousand Belarusian roubles), the totalizator cash desk to 2475 thousand Belarusian roubles (instead of 2250 thousand Belarusian roubles), one gaming table to 7854 Belarusian roubles (instead of 7140 Belarusian roubles), slot machines – from 240 Belarusian roubles to 264 Belarusian roubles.
* As of mid-June 2022, the exchange rate of the Belarusian rouble is: 1 BYN = 22 RUB = 0, 40$ = 0.37 EUR.
How to attract the target audience from Belarus to gambling sites?
The Republic of Belarus is a state in Eastern Europe with a population of 9.4 million people. The official languages are Belarusian and Russian. The Russian language is part of the school curriculum and is spoken in one way or another by the entire population of the country. The official currency is the Belarusian rouble.
According to BC Parimatch at the end of 2021, only 4-5% of the population is involved in gambling and betting in the Republic of Belarus. At the same time, there is a stable player base, with most of the players being men between the ages of 24 and 35. The average bet is €5 and the monthly expenditure per gambler is €200.
During the 2020-2021 quarantine many players actively moved to mobile betting, the number of bets from personal computers dropped from 50 to 20% of the total number of bettors.
From 2021, it is only possible to participate in gambling, including online gambling, in Belarus from the age of 21.
The system of betting and payouts established in Belarus is so well-functioning and transparent, that a player, provided his bet for legitimate purposes, is sure that he will get his winnings and knows when he will get them! Such conditions help to create an atmosphere of stability and attract more players!
How to advertise online casinos and betting in Belarus correctly?
Advertising of gambling and betting in Belarus is regulated by Article 23 in the Law of the Republic of Belarus No. 82-Z of January 4, 2021 “On Amendments to Advertising Laws”.
Advertising of gambling is allowed in Belarus. At the same time there are restrictions on the content of gambling advertising and the places where it is posted.
In terms of content, gambling advertising must not:
- give the impression that winning is guaranteed to every participant and that participation in gambling is a way of earning or getting a livelihood;
- contain statements that participation in gambling is important for social, professional, sporting or personal success;
- use juvenile imagery;
- include statements which exaggerate the likelihood of winning or minimise the risks;
- condemn non-participation in games of chance.
All gambling advertisements are restricted when placed on television, outdoor advertising, and objects (sports uniforms, toys).
One of the most important trends in gambling in Belarus is responsible gaming, which calls for restricting problem gamblers by means of bookmakers or by self-restriction initiated by the player himself.
The website of the Ministry of Taxes and Duties provides a list of health care organisations that provide specialised drug treatment to people with pathological gambling cravings. There is also an opportunity to take a self-test to determine the level of gambling addiction. The page is currently inactive but may be filled in the nearest future.
Belarus is one of the most promising countries in the CIS. The regulatory regime in Belarus is almost perfect: you need substantial resources to enter the market, but the restrictions are exactly what you need to implement fair gaming! It’s also convenient that there are plenty of creatives and landing pages in Russian, and the audience is solvent and responsive. That means you can make really good money on this GEO!
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