Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs wants to introduce strict punishments for people organising illegal gambling in the country.
The draft proposal, which was published on the government’s website on February 10, will be made available for public discussion and adds a raft of amendments to the country’s criminal laws.
The changes would make organising illegal gambling punishable by a prison term of five to seven years, according to local media.
If the offence includes a “criminal group” or involves children, the sentence will range from seven to 12 years in prison.
A fine of KGS200,000 (€2,150) will also be imposed for compliance violations by operators.
The latest proposal by the Ministry of Internal Affairs comes just months after the country legalised casino gambling, ending a ten-year ban on gambling in the country.
The law allowing foreigner-only gaming facilities in Kyrgyzstan was approved by the legislature on June 22 and was subsequently signed by President Sadyr Japarov.
On June 30, the President’s website stated that the purpose of the new gambling laws was to bring additional resources to the state budget.
The President’s post clarified that foreign entities are able to receive a licence; however, gambling premises will only be open to foreign citizens above the age of 21.
The country’s tax code was also amended for the new gambling industry. Tax rates for gaming tables will increase, starting at KGS750,000 in 2022, KGS1m in 2023 and KGS1.25m from 2024.
The same increase will take place for the taxation of slot machines, starting at KGS50,000 in 2022, increasing to KGS75,000 in 2023 and KGS100,000 in 2024.
Cash desks at the bookmaker's office and totalisator cost KGS200,000 in 2022, KGS350,000 in 2023 and KGS500,000 in 2024.
For online casinos and electronic (virtual) casinos, the tax rate is set at 8 percent of gross gambling revenue.
Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked country in Central Asia home to an estimated 6.7m people and shares a large southern border with China, which has helped it become a popular destination for tourists in recent years.
The impact of COVID-19 meant that the country’s tourism sector, which has become a core pillar of its economy, suffered heavily in 2020. This has put attracting tourists towards the top of the government’s priorities.