Kyrgyzstan reveals integrated resorts plan

Kyrgyzstan reveals integrated resorts plan

Wednesday, December 23, 2015 Totally Gaming
Kyrgyzstan borders China, Kazakhstan and several other Asian countries

Kyrgyzstan looks set to end its total ban on gambling, but new plans suggest it will continue to prevent its own citizens from taking part despite admitting that four years of prohibition has only created an illegal industry and the loss of tax revenues.

The Central Asian republic, which borders China, Kazakhstan and several other countries, banned most forms of gambling in January 2012, with sports betting then prohibited in 2015.

Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Economy has now released details of a bill that would allow foreign nationals to gamble at a vast new international trade and exhibition centre close to capital city Bishkek and the country’s major airport, Manas International.

It is hoped that the creation of an integrated resort would provide a boost to tourism and investment, with the Ministry of Economy, in a statement, admitting that prohibition has not stopped people from gambling.

“In adopting the law, we were guided by good intentions to protect vulnerable people, who become addicted to gambling,” the statement said.“However, the ban on gambling activities has led not to its stoppage, but to its movement into the shadows.

“For the reported period, we have failed to eradicate the illegal activities of casinos, as well as the activities of gaming machines rooms. The illegal market is accompanied by the development of criminal organisations that take control of most of these institutions.”

The Ministry of Economy, which estimated that $6.59m (€6.03m) in tax revenues were being lost each year through prohibition, did not state if there were plans for further liberalisation of gambling laws. 

The Ministry added: “This investment project includes three hotels, shops, conference rooms, exhibition and commercial facilities, as well as gambling complex, services of which will be provided only to foreign citizens.

“Implementation of the project will promote the development of such areas as tourism, the exchange of cultures, that in the future will help to improve the investment climate in the country.”

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