No casinos were allowed in Uzbekistan during the Soviet rule because the communist regime had prohibited all forms of gambling except for the national lottery.
Only a few slot halls existed, but the operations were heavily controlled. After the independence in 1991, the country opened doors for UZS sports betting and casino games, particularly in Tashkent.
But the gambling freedom was cut short following a nationwide ban by the Islamic influence. Even traditional forms of gambling like cock and dog fights were officially banished.
In 2002, all billiards were outlawed by the government to protect the values of the nation. The prevailing law penalized anyone found guilty of gambling with a 5-year jail term and confiscation of commodities.
A presidential decree issued in 2007 declared illegal both online and offline casinos. Those caught gambling were charged 3 to 5 times their bets, while illegal casino operators risked being jailed for up to 10 years.
Locals could freely participate in the lottery, which was encouraged by the government, with prices starting as low as $0.09. Interestingly, it was mandatory to buy at least one lottery ticket in 2015. No one could receive money from abroad before they purchased the ticket.
Gambling Nowadays in Uzbekistan
Gambling in Uzbekistan has undergone a significant transformation in recent years. With the rise of online platforms, the traditional landscape of brick-and-mortar casinos and betting shops has evolved into a digital realm. While Uzbekistan has historically maintained strict regulations on gambling activities, the advent of online casinos has introduced new opportunities for enthusiasts to engage in games of chance. This shift has sparked discussions about the balance between entertainment, revenue generation, and responsible gambling practices in the country. As the digital gambling scene continues to evolve, it's crucial to explore the current state of affairs and the implications for both players and the government.
Sports Betting Legality in Uzbekistan
For years, the gambling market in Uzbekistan had moved to the bordering countries like Kazakhstan, where games of chance are legal.
Towards the end of 2019, the Uzbekistan government announced a resolution to legalize sports betting businesses to revive the tourism and sports industries.
The legislation is yet to be implemented, and gamblers can’t wait. The authorities have opened a legal gambling zone in the touristic region of Muynak. The plan authorized the establishment of an independent administrative unit that would feature gambling halls, hotel complexes, poker rooms, and shopping malls.