4H Materials

New changes in the regulation of the gambling market in Kazakhstan

At the end of April, the Parliament of Kazakhstan approved a draft law on gambling, lotteries and lottery activities with related amendments in the first reading. The main purpose of this draft law is to protect the population from involvement in gambling, as well as to fight against gambling addiction. Among the amendments are the following: i) raising the age limit for participation in gambling; ii) prohibition of the involvement in gambling for debtors; iii) stricter requirements for advertising of betting operators; iv) changes of hardware and software complexes of operators and prohibition of foreign betting sites without a license to operate in Kazakhstan; and others.

Raising the age limit for participation in gambling

The draft law proposes to change the age limit for participation in gambling from 21 to 25 years of age. Raising the age limit for participation in gambling underlines the state's intention to reduce the level of involvement in gambling among the population. However, on the other hand, persons between the ages of 21 and 25 may start to play in offshore operators, which may negatively impact the state.

Prohibition of the involvement in gambling for debtors

The draft law proposes the creation of a special register of debtors who will be refused registration with operators. From this point of view, Kazakhstan seeks to increase control over the gambling market. However, in practice, there may be a need for improvement in implementing such draft law provisions.

Similar initiatives are currently being discussed in Belgium. In Belgium, there is a register of the Central Authority for Private Credit, which operators check before increasing the limits. The Parliament proposes to include citizens from this register in the list of excluded persons for gambling. There may be a similar regulation in Kazakhstan.

Restrictions on players' participation in gambling are quite common practices of regulators. Such restrictions are in line with the principles of responsible gambling - the regulator prohibits individuals from participating in gambling to protect them from negative consequences, taking into consideration the fact that the player has problems with his financial situation.

Stricter requirements for advertising of betting operators

The draft law proposes to change the regulation of gambling advertising, allowing it only on sports internet resources, in the media and inside sports facilities. Operators' advertisements will contain only a minimum of information (brand name, license number, website).

Stricter regulation of operator advertising may reduce public engagement, as potential players will need a source of information about the operator. Kazakhstan is likely to implement international standards of responsible gambling by restricting advertising.

We have written in previous articles that many jurisdictions are strengthening the regulation of operator advertising at the legal level. The changes in the law will be something familiar, for example, in Romania, advertising is prohibited on educational and cultural buildings but is allowed inside the operator's premises.

Сhanges of hardware and software complexes of operators and prohibition of foreign betting sites without a license to operate in Kazakhstan

The draft law proposes to connect hardware and software complexes to information systems of the State Revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance of Kazakhstan. From our point of view, the new provisions aim to avoid the complex and complicated existing control system and provide fiscal and financial state authorities with access to the bookmaker's data. At the same time, the practical implementation of such an ‘exchange’ of information between bookmakers and relevant state authorities remains unclear, namely whether the new interaction system will ensure the industry's very control and supervision.

Based on the analysed changes, it can be concluded that Kazakhstan wants to regulate the gambling market based on international standards. The draft law is aimed at introducing the principles of responsible gambling. On the one hand, the new regulation may have a positive impact on the problem of gambling addiction, but on the other hand, it may increase the level of the offshore market. However, even such steps of the state highlight the importance of quality control of the gambling market.