YEREVAN, September 26. / ARKA /. Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan called a consultative meeting to discuss issues of concern to casino owners, who earlier had sent a letter to the Prime Minister voicing their concerns over the law on gambling houses and casinos which was adopted a few years earlier.
The law provided that as of January 1, 2013, casinos or gambling houses would have to be run within the administrative boundaries of Tsakhkadzor, Jermuk and Sevan communities. At the same time, it was decided that as supported with AMD 40bn-worth projects, this type of facilities could be operated in government-stipulated areas outside Yerevan.
Casinos representatives objected that if a USD 40bn project is launched closer to Yerevan than Tsakhkadzor, Jermuk and Sevan, it would give rise to private monopoly especially as the launch of a gambling house like this is expected as early as in 2013. They believe it to be harmful to small and medium-size businesses. They said the global crisis had deprived them of necessary resources, preventing them from meeting the aforementioned requirement of the law.
Account taken of international practices, the owners of gambling houses came up with proposals aimed at regulating the gambling sector, including the application of stricter rules with regard to those companies operating in this field. They called on the government to find solutions to their problems considering their current concerns.
“I do not share the likings and aspirations of your customers since I feel that gambling is at odds with the true image of an Armenian. Nevertheless, I accept your arguments, convinced that we should create such a regulatory framework as might take into consideration the interests of small and medium-size businesses, including the introduction of stricter rules of control so that we could keep our society safe from unnecessary risks, Tigran Sargsyan said.
Stressing that he was against any monopoly in any sector of economy, the Prime Minister proposed those in attendance to join the Ministry of Finance to draft a regulatory concept for this area.
At the same time, Tigran Sargsyan directed Minister of Finance Vache Gabrielyan to draft a bill envisaging a one-year delay in the application of the law. In the meantime, a new regulatory concept will be prepared by the stakeholders, after which the issue will be taken up at a follow-up meeting.
The gambling sector representatives thanked the head of government for attention and consistence in tackling their concerns.-0-