Armenia, a Transcaucasian country bordering Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Iran, is known for its spectacular landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and delicious food: this country is home to the biblical Mount Ararat (its national symbol), the oldest Christian churches in the world, some of the purest spring water you could ever hope to drink, and the region’s oldest national cuisine.
Armenia is a regional innovation center with a very tech savvy population companies such as Picsart, DataArt, and Krisp have their offices there. it’s also one of the world’s most actively growing and regulated gambling markets and a perfect location for iGaming companies.
Since Azerbaijani and Turkish trade borders are permanently closed as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Armenia is tightly tied to the only two available trading partners in the region, Georgia and Iran. Despite tax policy and customs administration reforms, the country still struggles with corruption, economic isolation, and limited business and economic opportunities; it also remains dependent on foreign support. Armenia has been a member of the World Trade Organization since 2003 and the Eurasian Economic Union since 2015, as well as signing the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with the EU in 2017.
But despite Armenia’s less-than-rosy overall economic picture, when it comes to the country’s gambling market, it’s growing. It seems that the Covid years served this sector well: according to Minister of Finance Armen Hayrepetyan and Babken Tunyan, Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs, the size of the market has tripled since 2018, generating $6.5 million in revenue in 2021.
The industry’s growth is driven by a widespread love of betting. The Ministry of Finance, responsible for gambling licensing in the country, found that gambling participation is six times higher than in the UK — a finding which provoked problem gambling concerns.
Online gambling has been regulated in Armenia since 2004. The regulatory body is the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Armenia; its Commission on Licensing Lotteries, Internet Gambling Games, Gambling and Casinos issues licenses for indefinite terms. The annual fee for an online gambling organization is AMD 600,000,000 ($1,436,342).
Starting from May 27, 2022, the Armenian government, like some European jurisdictions, banned almost all forms of gambling ads, only leaving the opportunity to advertise on the buildings of land-based gambling establishments, in four and five-star hotels, on companies’ websites, and at the border checkpoints. Authorities had already banned TV advertisements out of problem gambling concerns.
Another restriction is related to payment methods: using cash for gambling was forbidden starting from May 27, 2022, and the ban will soon also apply to payment terminals and e-wallets. Authorities strive to permit only bank transactions and make operations more transparent, the main idea is to protect underage citizens: they can’t have a bank account, and therefore won’t be able to make deposits and play. Note that the age of maturity in Armenia is 18 years, but the gambling age is 21.
Armenian players like both eternal classics such as slots and table games (poker, roulette, baccarat) and modern alternatives, such as live dealer games. Sports betting is also in high demand. Armenians follow all major football leagues, and love betting on them. For operators, that means that not only localization of their websites is preferable, but also a good choice of games so that they don’t lose any player segment.
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