Armenia proceeds with Cash ban on gambling transactions

The government of Armenia is set to implement a ban on cash payment options for online betting and gaming operators.

Last week, the National Assembly of Armenia urged all relevant agencies to adopt new rules on the management of gaming accounts, aimed at ‘strengthening the fight against gambling addiction’.

In May 2022 the Assembly approved the new restrictions by 67 votes, denying national consumers the option to conduct transactions via electronic cash and payment terminals to top up online gambling accounts.

These new directives serve as a comprehensive ban on all cash transactions. Consequently, Armenian consumers cannot deposit or withdraw funds in Dram.

Per the directives given to the appropriate agencies, online gambling accounts can only be topped up via nationally-licensed banks that offer card services.

The proposal for this cash ban was initially crafted by Civil Party MPs Tsovinar Vardanyan and Gevorg Papoyan in 2022. It was designed as a protective measure for “socially vulnerable citizens”, especially those battling existing addictions, by curbing their easy access to betting platforms.

Though approved in 2022, the measures of the cash ban required examination by the National Assembly’s Finance Committee, as restrictions would alter existing rules related to Armenia’s management of financial, credit and budgetary issues.

As documented on 16 October, following a consultation, the Central Bank of Armenia submitted a positive recommendation for government agencies to adopt an  ‘updated legislative package’ related to amendment on online gambling transactions.

The regulatory proceedings of 2022 and 2023, have seen Armenia tighten its laws on gambling to align with stringent standards of other eastern European countries, including Georgia, Latvia, Estonia and the Czech Republic.

High impact measures have focused on enhancing age verification and customer ID requirements, enforcing checks across land-based gambling venues to ensure no one under the 21 is allowed to gamble.