Belarus confirms online gambling launch date

24 August 2018

Belarus will regulate online gambling from the start of April next year, the eastern European country’s tax ministry has confirmed.

Vladimir Mukvich, the Deputy Tax and Duties Minister, said that there would be a two-year transitional period, through to April 1, 2019, when operators would be able to apply for an online gaming licence.

He added that he does not foresee a significant number of online casino operators initially as the government does “not see any preconditions for such a trend”.

Mukvich also said that the legislation, Decree No.305, would put in place strict conditions for operators in order to protect the country’s population of nearly 10 million people.

“This will be done not with the aim of minimising the number of facilities, but to provide maximum protection to the players,” Mukvich said.

The bill to legalise online gambling was put forward by the Minister of Taxes and Levies, Sergei Nalivaiko, in July.

Earlier this month, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko gave the green light to online gaming by signing the decree into law.

Under the decree, the minimum age for online gambling will be 21, with identity checks required.

Operators will have to deposit funds into a designated account that will be used to cover any winnings or taxes that would be due if the venture collapses.

The country’s tax authorities will also keep a close eye on the operators through a special payment system that will allow transactions to be monitored.

Casinos will also have to install surveillance cameras, while punters would not be allowed to lend money to other gamblers.

In December, Belarus opted to legalise cryptocurrencies, ICOs and smart contracts amid reports of wider regulation.

Image credit: Nuno Godinho