Gambling practices are etched in Kyrgyzstan's history. Immediately after independence, there was a steady increase in the number of casinos and betting outlets. This culture ended in 2012, following legislation that declared all forms of gambling in the country illegal.
However, the Kyrgyzstan authorities took a different route that saw some forms of gambling allowed to open in designated areas. This was a similar move to that made in Russia a few years before. Unfortunately, Kyrgyzstan laws and procedures were found lacking, and this ultimately led to failed approvals.
There has always been legislation directed towards curbing gambling. Early efforts undoubtedly failed to achieve the objective. For instance, 2012's anti-gambling laws were meant to regulate gambling, but corruption and poor enforcement saw the number of illegal casinos and bookmakers double in a year.
Following these developments, some legislators introduced a bill to legalize gambling again, citing economic reasons, but this only saw the legalization of sports betting. When it comes to online gambling today, residents can only place wagers on foreign-based gambling websites.
Gambling nowadays in Kyrgyzstan
It was noting that past attempts to ban all forms of gambling did not bear significant results. The major change being that land-based casino players shifted their focus to online gaming. Kyrgyzstan's players have many options to choose from as far as choosing an online casino goes.
However, most punters are not lucky to find a casino that is available in the Kyrgyz language. Since few casinos support this language, Kyrgyzstan players are forced to look for casinos that support the language they might be comfortable with, such as Russian, or bank their hopes of the 'browser translation' feature that is often found to be lacking.
The popularity of online gambling in Kyrgyzstan has seen quite many online casinos open their doors to Kyrgyzstan players. Playing at a casino that accepts Kyrgyzstan punters essentially means that they do not have to worry about the burden of paying exorbitant exchange rates.
Players who use casinos that do not support the Kyrgyz Som, the official currency, opt to use e-wallets to minimize the frequency of applying for exchange at the casino. Notably, the fact that betting is not legal in this country means that players do not have to worry about the burden of paying taxes on their winnings.
Future of online casinos in Kyrgyzstan
From the onset, it has been clear that societal and religious beliefs played a massive role in banning all gambling forms in Kyrgyzstan.
From the look of things, the sole purpose of coming up with this anti-gambling legislation has failed, and some politicians today are busy looking for ways to tidy the mess. Given Kyrgyzstan's poor state, legalizing gambling and other forms of gambling could prove essential in widening the government's tax bracket.
With new bills being drafted on gambling, gambling could likely be legalized in the future. Even though there is no clarity in when it will be legalized, bettors have every reason to remain optimistic following the approval of a bill that sought to legalize land-based casinos in April 2021.
According to government officials, land-based gambling could be limited to the Issyk-Kul region, which is open to foreigners or tourists. It is also likely that the current legislative window on online betting will remain open for local players.