How to promote online betting and gambling in Armenia?

Publication date: 21 Dec 2022

A licensing system created in Armenia allows operators to offer casino games and sports betting on one site. That opens up excellent prospects for making money in the gambling market of this small country. Find out from the new review on 3S.INFO how to promote online betting and gambling in Armenia.  

How is betting and gambling regulated in Armenia?  

Gambling in Armenia is regulated by several laws:  

  • The law “On Winning Games, Online Winning Games and Gambling Houses” (another name depending on the translation is “On Gambling, Online Gambling and Casino”) of 13.12.2003. In addition, Government Decision of the Republic of Armenia N 1164-H of July 29, 2004 “On Enforcement of the Law” is in force;
  • The Law “On Licensing”;
  • The Law “On State Duties”.

According to the law “On Gambling and Casino” (the short title of the document) in the Republic of Armenia, any gambling activity with winning (sports betting or casino) can be carried out by commercial organizations registered in the state and on the basis of an appropriate license. All provisions of the law apply to both the land-based and online segments. A separate license is required for each type of activity. 

What kind of gambling is allowed in Armenia?

Armenia-How-to-promote-online-gambling-betting-3SINFO-games-en

 

  • As of 1 January 2014, land-based gambling establishments in Armenia may only be located in special zones: Tsaghkadzor, Jermuk, Sevan and Meghri. Gambling may be organized on the territory of Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport. Likewise, a casino or land-based betting facility may be organized anywhere: with the approval of the government of the Republic of Armenia and an investment of more than 40 billion drams.

 A license to operate online winning games is granted indefinitely. To obtain it, it is necessary to submit a package of documents and pay an annual state fee (600,000,000 drams). The fee is annual, the amount must be transferred to the Ministry’s account every year during the operation of the BC or casino. 

  • NB! From 1 July 2023, changes in the law “On State Duties” will come into force. The annual fee will be determined by the amount of accepted bets: for every 100 billion drams betting organizer of gambling business will have to pay 175 million drams (442.5 thousand dollars).

The regulatory body that issues licenses for casinos and bookmakers in the country is the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Armenia.  

The section on the Ministry’s website contains lists of licensed bookmakers and casinos in ArmeniaAs of December 8, 2022, 4 companies have gambling and betting licenses: “ԴԻՋԻԹԵՅՆ» (Digitain is affiliated with the TotoGaming brand), “Կաբարկո” (“Kabarko” represents the Georgian brand Adjarabet) , “ԳՈՒԴ ՍՈՖԹ” (“Good Soft” operates under the GoodWin brand), “Սոֆթ Կոոստատ” (CJSC “Soft Construct” for Vbet brand).

You can check whether a company holds an Armenian gambling license on the website of the Armenian Tax Service in the “Taxpayer Search System”. 

How much money is made on the Armenian gambling market?  

According to the results of 2021, betting shops in Armenia made a turnover of 3.2 trillion drams (about 6.7 million dollars). At the same time, contributions to the budget amounted to 1.6 million drams, which is 2 times more than in 2020. Such data was announced by Babken Tunyan, head of the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs. 

  • Armenian casinos and betting offices do not pay taxes: according to the law, gambling establishments annually pay the state duty in the prescribed amount. In the summer of 2023, the conditions will be changed: the amount of state duty will depend on the sum of the bets placed. The changes are expected to bring additional revenues to Armenia’s budget: 10 billion drams annually.

Armenian Finance Minister Arman Poghosyan stated in December 2022 that in 2017, the number of bets made in Armenia was 140 billion drams, in 2018 – about 230 billion drams, in 2019 – 1.1 trillion drams. Last year it was already almost 4 trillion drams, and from January to September 2022, the volume of bets made in Armenia was 4.2 trillion drams. Hence, in 5 years, the number of bets made in Armenia’s official casinos and betting houses has increased 3,000-fold!  

How to properly promote betting and gambling in Armenia 

In March 2022, amendments were adopted to the Law “On Advertising”. Thereafter, offline advertising of casinos and betting offices is allowed in Armenia: only in hotels (starting from 4 stars), at checkpoints, and on the front of the building belonging to the gambling establishment. It is only possible to officially advertise a BC or casino online on the website of the bookmaker or casino itself.   

  •  However, in the summer of 2022, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan claimed that the law was not working and the streets of Yerevan were full of “hidden advertisements of online casinos and betting companies”. He urged the owners not to “spoil relations with the government” and to remove “all these advertisements” on their own.

All audiovisual media which names are associated with bookmakers and gambling will be renamed in Armenia within 6 months. This follows from the amendments to the Law on Audiovisual Media and Related Laws adopted on 20 December 2022. The ban will also apply to the names of casinos, gambling houses and other games with winnings.

How to attract users from Armenia to casino and betting sites?  

The Republic of Armenia is a state in Western Asia. In 2021, there were about 3 million people living here, in 2022, about 50,000 more people came from Russia. 

What is the right way to promote betting and gambling in other Asian countries? All in Reviews on 3S.INFO:

Despite the fact that the HDI (Human Development Index) in the country is quite high (0, 776), about a third of the population (27% according to the State Statistics Service in 2020) lives below the poverty line. Half of them live in rural areas and 1.3% live in ‘extreme poverty’.  According to the Statistical Committee of the Republic of Armenia, the country’s average salary in 2022 will be around 230,000 drams (36,500 roubles or 582 dollars).

The official language is Armenian, with a unique alphabet. Most people in Armenia are proficient in Russian and English. 

The official currency is the dram (AMD). As of December 2022, 1 dram = 0,16 Russian rouble = 0,002 Euro.

The age from which access to gambling establishments is allowed is 21 years old. 

Internet accessibility in Armenia 

Back in 2015, 75% of the country’s population was connected to the Internet. There is stable 4G coverage in all but the most remote and mountainous regions of the country.

Mobile operators: Armentel (from Beeline), Vivacell (from MTS) and Ucom.

In November 2022 (Freedom House data), Armenia was included in the list of countries with the freest Internet. The same report specifies that “Internet connectivity is widely available in Yerevan and distributed throughout the country. 

According to the Similarweb service in November 2022: 

  • Chrome was the most used browser (76.6%), followed by Safari (16.49%). Also in the top five were YaBrowser, Opera and Samsung Internet.  
  • Armenians most often access the Internet through mobile devices (76.88%), the share of desktop computers is 22.47%.
  • The most popular search engines are Google (98.58%), Yandex (0.83%), Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo.

According to Statcounter GlobalStats data for the last year (from November 2021 to November 2022), the traffic of social networks in Armenia remains constant: Facebook* (53.77%), Pinterest (16.67%), Instagram* (13.49%), Twitter (4.36%), YouTube (3.91%), Linkedin (3.45%).

*Facebook and Instagram are banned and blocked in Russia. 

How are gambling and betting websites being blocked in Armenia?  

The national domain of Armenia is .am, and anyone (including non-residents of the country) can register a new site.  There are also no bans on registering domains with the names of famous brands. 

At the beginning of 2021, it was announced that Armenia was preparing to tighten control over the country’s gambling market. To that end, regulatory standards will be created within two years, which will be the basis for digital control of lotteries, casinos and other gambling games with winnings.

 It is planned that providers will submit information to a new specially created monitoring centre, on the basis of which the system will analyze the transparency and legality of each entity’s operations. 

But at present, there are no special legal regulations in Armenia to block the websites of unlicensed casinos and bookmakers. All blocking in the country is carried out by internet providers on the basis of a court decision.

In May 2021, many websites of bookmakers and casinos not licensed to operate in Russia were no longer accessible to the Armenian population. These sites were blocked at the request of Roskomnadzor.  This is due to the fact that Armenian providers are subsidiaries of Russian companies and receive traffic through them. What is blocked in Russia is also blocked in Armenia. 

In September 2022, access to the video service TikTok and the short message service Twitter was blocked in Armenia. It was done “for security reasons” against the backdrop of an aggravated military-political situation. 

What payment means can be used in casinos and betting companies in Armenia? 

According to the Armenian Gambling Law, casinos and betting companies have the right to accept deposits in one form only – using bank cards. Consequently, the acceptance of cash (including payment terminals), the use of electronic wallets, transfers from mobile operators’ accounts, payments in cryptocurrencies in Armenian casinos and betting offices are officially banned. 

Gambling organizations that violate this ban can receive a fine of 200 thousand drams (about 472 euros). In order to detect violations, the tax service will carry out checks using benchmarking rates.

As a result, gambling sites officially working in Armenia accept deposits and transfer winnings to Visa and MasterCard cards. The cards of the Armenian unified system ArCa, with which local banks work, are also available. 

After registration, Armenian online casinos and betting sites offer deposits through Idram, TelCell or Mobidram wallets, as well as through land-based betting shops. However, such deposits are also only possible via linked bank cards.

If you play on illegal sites, deposits and withdrawals are usually possible from mobile operator accounts, via Neteller, PayPal, Skrill and via cryptocurrency. 

How to generate betting and gambling creatives for Armenia?  

  • Armenia is a country with a harmonious blend of different cultures. Geographically, it is located in the north of Western Asia, but also in the Caucasus region. Meanwhile, the majority of its residents are Christians, embracing European values and lifestyles. In practice, this means finding the line between national hospitality and personal boundaries, respect for tradition and interest in innovation, restraint in behaviour and the appeal of “the beautiful life” to attract the attention of the locals.
  • There are some things you should never joke about in Armenia. For example, the earthquake. Recall that in December 1988, the devastating Spitak (Leninakan) earthquake hit the north of the country. At least 25,000 people died and many towns and villages were completely destroyed. The consequences (destruction of 40% of the country’s industrial infrastructure, shutdown of the Armenian NPP) are still felt to this day by the country’s economy. Therefore, “powerful free bets with a magnitude of 10”, “your house will collapse under the weight of presents” and even “awesome bonuses” are best left for another occasion. 
  • Traditionally, gambling activity increases on public holidays: Republic Day (28 May), Constitution Day (5 July) and Independence Day (21 September).

What sports are popular in Armenia?  

The Armenian authorities are actively promoting sports by developing sports infrastructure: new stadiums, sports schools and centres are being built all over the country. 

  • The top five most popular sports in Armenia include football, ice hockey, basketball, volleyball and chess. 
  • Armenians, just like residents of other countries, actively root for their national football team. Mini-Football is also actively developing; educational institutions and companies have their own teams. Competitions of the Armenian Futsal League are regularly held in the country.
  • Weightlifting, boxing, various types of wrestling (sambo, judo). Koch is a traditional Armenian wrestling, one of the oldest in the world. Kokh wrestling is performed in the national clothes, the kokh coat with a soft belt. There are several variations of kokh, including kokh on knees and kokh riding on horses. Many kokh techniques are included in sambo, which is also very popular in Armenia. 
  • Armenia is a country where chess is one of the most popular sports! The national chess team is an active participant in many competitions, and has won the Chess Olympiad and World Chess Championship many times. Chess is taught as a subject in many schools. World chess champion and legendary athlete Garry Kasparov also has Armenian roots.
  • Armenia is a mountainous country, which makes skiing and rock climbing popular. Skiing is the main attraction at ski resorts (Tsaghkadzor, Vanadzor and Jermuk). Armenian Ski Federation organizes skiing and snowboarding competitions. 
  • There are many sports in Armenia for which interest has just begun to grow: rugby, horseback riding, windsurfing and kitesurfing, golf, MMA and cycling.  To keep yourself informed and to promote betting in Armenia effectively, use the Sporting Events Calendar on 3S.INFO.
  • Since 1999, the Pan-Armenian Games have been held: every four years Armenians from all over the world compete in 17 sports. In addition to “traditional” sports, the event includes sports dancing, arm wrestling, badminton, golf, handball and shooting.  The next VIII Pan-Armenian Games will be held in August 2023.

Prospects for the development of the Armenian gambling industry 

In the summer of 2022, the State Revenue Committee submitted a draft law “On the Regulation of Gambling Activities” for discussion. Under it, playing casinos and sports betting could be banned for some residents of Armenia:  

  • recipients of state benefits; 
  • those receiving social assistance or subsidies;
  • bankrupts and loan debtors;
  • those with more than 40% of their income in credit;
  • drug addicts (including those undergoing treatment).

Gambling operators are encouraged to enforce compliance. In case of violation there will be a fine:  2 million drams (4,825 euros), with a fine of 5 million drams if repeated within a year.

There is now a situation in which GEO Armenia has a number of undeniable advantages. The state authorities allow the operation of betting and gambling sites. At the same time, the tremendous growth of betting shows that gambling is becoming more and more popular. The 3SNET network offers to connect the best offers from casinos and bookmakers in Armenia, where quality traffic is expected. 

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