Until April 1 2019, only two types of online gambling were allowed in Belarus:
- betting (a gambler places a bet on an event against a bookmaker), for instance sports bets;
- online totalizator (a gambler places a bet on an event against another gambler).
Since April 1, 2019 witnessed legitimation of virtual gambling houses and following online games:
- online card games (for instance, poker);
- online slot machines determining prizes/payouts randomly;
- bingo games, offering prizes depending on right guesses of number combinations and stakes.
Live games – where real gaming tables, cards, roulettes are located either in Belarus or abroad, games are broadcasted online and gamblers play remotely – are also allowed. Live games include card games, dice games, roulette games and live gaming machines.
STARTING A BUSINESS
In order to start your online gambling business in Belarus, you need to:
1. Own a company registered in Belarus and having a valid license for gambling business and two years of business experience.
Purchasing a share (stock) in such a company is your first step in setting up you online gambling business in Belarus. Only such companies may add a new type of activity – virtual gambling house – to their license specifications.
It doesn't matter what particular type of gambling games this company organised before. For instance, a land-based betting house may open an online casino. A company may wind up its offline activities upon obtaining a license for a virtual gambling house.
Bookmakers and totalizators which have been running online activity before 1 April 2019 may continue it. They are entitled not to apply for amending the license with the activity of virtual gambling houses and are relieved from observing requirements applied to virtual gambling houses till April 1, 2021.
Both Belarusian and foreign citizens and entities may act as shareholders of the company. It is prohibited to be a shareholder for the following individuals:
- those subjected to administrative liability during last two years for violations related to legalisation of proceeds of crime, financing terrorist activities or financing spread of weapons of mass destruction;
- those who are subject to outstanding conviction for an economic crime.
Company's minimal capital requirement:
- for limited liability companies and additional liability companies (may amount even to 1 BYN) – no requirement;
- for closed joint-stock companies – 100 basic units (BYN 2,550, or ca. USD 1,200);
- for open joint-stock companies – 400 basic units (BYN 10,200, or ca. USD 4,800).
2. Elaborate regulations for internal control of financial transactions.
In particular, you'll have to elaborate a specific bylaw – internal control regulations, as well as a questionnaire to identify persons involved in financial transactions, financial transactions log books and a special report form.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.