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Legalization of online casinos in Sri Lanka, credit card ban in Australia and new taxes in Armenia

July 4, 2024
3 min

There's a lot going on in the world of online casinos. Sri Lanka is looking at ways to make them legal in the country, Australia is putting some pretty tight restrictions on using credit cards to fund casino accounts, and Armenia is looking at its tax policy on winnings.

Sri Lanka considers legalization of online casinos

Harsha de Silva, the Chairman of the State Finance Committee, thinks it's time to legalize and regulate online casinos in Sri Lanka. He says the current laws are ineffective because offshore operators keep operating, which means the country is missing out on a lot of tax revenue.

Harsha will send an official letter to Sri Lanka's Finance Minister proposing the legalization of online casinos and the creation of a regulatory body. During the parliamentary session where online casinos were discussed, the representatives of the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank expressed support for the idea of creating a special regulator, which, in their opinion, will help to effectively solve many current problems in the gambling sphere.

Currently, the legal framework regulating gambling in Sri Lanka provides for the legal status of land-based casinos. In the past, the government even considered transforming one of the islands into a casino resort.

Australia has introduced a ban on credit card and cryptocurrency deposits

As of last September, Australian players can no longer use credit cards to fund their online casino accounts, according to the new Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023. The bill was approved by Parliament late last year, first by the House of Representatives in November and then by the Senate a few weeks ago.

The prohibition applies to all forms of online gambling, with the exception of lotteries and keno, for which the use of credit cards remains permitted. Previously, the ban was already in effect for land-based gambling.

A six-month transition period was granted to licensed operators to adapt to the new requirements. This period has now elapsed, and operators will be subject to fines of up to $154,978 for non-compliance with the new rules.

The bill also enhances the authority of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) by conferring upon it the capacity to enforce both novel and extant penalty provisions, in addition to assuming responsibility for their issuance.

Armenian Parliament approves tax on winnings for gamblers

The Armenian Parliament has approved a series of amendments to the gambling legislation with the objective of enhancing tax administration and combating offshore bookmakers. Local operators are now obliged to withhold a 5% deduction from winnings exceeding 5 million drams (approximately 12,800 dollars). In the event that the winnings are less than this amount, players are required to calculate and pay the 10% tax independently.

In accordance with the revised regulations, any discrepancy between the total amount wagered and the resulting winnings must be reflected in the annual declaration and subject to a 5% income tax payment to the state budget.

Furthermore, amendments to the legislation prohibit offshore gambling and its advertising. The implementation of taxes on winnings may result in a shift of players to the gray zone, necessitating the development of a monitoring system by the Armenian government to support legal operators and monitor gambling behavior.

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