On 19-20 of November, Yerevan hosted the first Armenian Gaming Forum – exhibition-conference devoted to gambling business. Forum was visited by gambling industry representatives and authorities regulating its development. Besides, equipment manufacturers and software providers offered their creations as part of the demo zone, and event guests had a chance to participate in the business tour across the best casinos in the country.
Forum welcomed speakers:
Samwel Martirosyan, media expert and IT security specialist, Member of the Internet Governance Council of the Republic of Armenia;
Aram Orbelyan, former Armenian Minister of Justice’s Deputy, specialist in foreign investment security, corporate and telecommunications law;
Ivan Kondilenko, CASEXE brand manager;
Frank Ravanelli, online gaming performance marketer;
Vage Martirosyan, head of the analytics department in betting company Europefootball Bookmakers Company;
Marlen Smbatyan, Director of Legal Affairs at Europefootball Bookmakers Company.
Participants discussed topics:
Bitcoin in online gambling and the prospects of cryptocurrency in Armenia;
Fantasy sports: new possibilities in betting;
closing of online casino in Armenia;
the future of betting industry;
legal aspects of gambling in Armenia;
state regulation of gambling business.
What we talked about at the conference
Is it possible to close online casino in Armenia? This question was answered by the media expert and IT security specialist Samwel Martirosyan.
He said that government of Armenia is really concerned that foreign online casinos are engaging Armenian players, still pay no taxes to the country’s budget. Therefore, an expensive technology allowing to regulate (and ban) such websites is under way.
“Government is Armenia will never abandon the idea of controlling the online casino,” said Samwel Martirosyan.
Nevertheless, there’s no such possibility to ban these resources in the country today. “Armenia doesn’t ban online casino websites at all. There’s IP blocking, but it stops the functioning of not only casino but everyone operating on such IP. And domain name blocking is monkey-business,” explained the speaker.
Specialist thinks that foreign online casinos today attract Armenians more than domestic ones. The reason is that Armenian online casinos often happen to be scammers, as there were no legal regulation for their operations untill April, 2015.
Significant part of the conference has been devoted to new online gaming technologies. CASEXE brand manager Ivan Kondilenko explained the prospects of cryptocurrency in the Armenian gaming industry. He was talking about Bitcoin, new thing on the Armenian market, similar to many other countries in CIS.
Though, it’s still early to talk about the widespread use of cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies in the country, says the speaker. “In spite of all cryptocurrency prospects and the growth of its popularity, Bitcoin is still not that demanded in Armenia. For example, not many authorities in the Parliament understand what it is.”
Frank Ravanelli, online gaming performance marketer, told about the new segment for the Armenian market – fantasy sports. His online presentation addressed the benefits of the trendy sector that became massively popular in the USA and Western Europe.
Vage Martirosyan, head of the analytics department in betting company Europefootball Bookmakers Company, shared his vision of betting industry in Armenia.
Separate conference block included presentations devoted to legal aspects of gambling business. It was addressed by Aram Orbelyan, former Armenian Minister of Justice’s Deputy, specialist in foreign investment security, corporate and telecommunications law, and Marlen Smbatyan, Director of Legal Affairs at Europefootball Bookmakers Company.
Aram Orbelyan told about the rules that Armenian gambling operators shall adhere to. He spoke on the conditions for launching a casino and state control of gaming.
“Anyone can build a casino in Armenia for $80m with the government’s approval – anywhere except Yerevan. Advertising is allowed only at entrance points (at railway stations and in airports), four star hotels and in casinos,” said Aram Orbelyan.
Besides, the speaker spoke on the topic of financial reports and penalties for rules violation.
Business tour and the informal part
First day of the forum on November 19 ended with a tour to the office of BetConstruct company, leading developer of innovative solutions in gambling. The company opened its doors to all Armenian Gaming Forum guests who had a chance to communicate in the informal atmosphere at the organized banquet.
BetConstruct is the leader of gaming software industry. Its products are used by more than 1,500 operators in 40 countries. BetConstruct’s advanced technologies in poker, live casino, sports betting, and virtual games are highly appreciated by the clients.
Company is a constant partner of Smile-Expo, international organizer of gambling events in CIS, Georgia and Ukraine.
Second day of Armenian Gaming Forum will long be remembered by the participants due to the business tour across the most famous Armenian casinos. They visited four gaming venues in various regions, discovered operational peculiarities, talked to owners and executives, and asked all relevant questions.
Tour participants visited casinos:
Senator Golden Palace;
Most famous casino in Armenia Shangri La prepared a banquet for visitors. Business tour participants established contacts in the proper atmosphere and played in gorgeous halls of the casino.
Armenian Gaming Forum became the first gaming forum in Armenia, and one of the many events organized by Smile-Expo for gambling representatives.
Smile-Expo has been organizing discussion floors for many years, inviting everyone interested in the development of gaming business. Company was successful in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Czech Republic.
Smile-Expo not just creates possibility for dialog between business representatives and authorities, but protects interests of gambling business in the process of establishing a regulatory framework for the industry.
Find out more about Smile-Expo events and visit Georgia Gaming Congress, which will take place on February 25, 2016!