Armenian lawmakers have toyed with the idea of a blanket bank on the gambling industry, citing it as the source of many social ills. As a full ban has not taken the industry in a stranglehold just yet, there are other things that legislators in the country are exploring in a bid to lessen the potential impact gambling has on society. This includes the use of more restrictive measures that may now target payment methods.
First to go will be cash payments with more comprehensive measures passed to restrict e-wallets next. Essentially, Armenia wants to ensure that any payments directed to gambling companies can be traced easily and this means limiting payments within the traditional financial system, such as bank transfers.
The downside is that consumers may be reluctant to use banks to conduct payments simply because such methods charge additional fees which add to the burden may carry in clearing wagering requirements, for example. The new Civil Contract Bill, though, seeks to make sure that gambling is kept in tight control by the central government, usually a poor formula for success.
However, the bill has many proponents. Member of Parliament Papoya argues that through the passage of such comprehensive methods of monitoring the industry those most at risk will be taken care of. Problem gambling rates in Armenia aren’t well-documented, but there are concerns among lawmakers that unless stricter measures are passed, the numbers could get to a point where they cannot be controlled.
However, a point can be made that restricting gambling too much would result in many consumers seeking offshore options which could be more dangerous for them. Papoya noted that only adults may participate in gambling and the new law would use the tracking of payments to ensure that this is upheld.
Previously, Armenia spoke about ensuring that gambling advertisement is eradicated from public space in a bid to keep consumers protected and minimize risks to vulnerable individuals or those not yet of the legal gambling age. The advertisement ban is now mulled by the National Assembly which seems inclined to forge ahead with the measure and suspend all advertisements in the country, similar to what Italy did and what Spain is now doing.
Armenia is hardly the only country to consider a complete ban on its advertisement. The United Kingdom is growing increasingly fond of the idea of restricting advertisement even further. Most new and reregulated markets in Europe have acknowledged the need to act against the unchecked proliferation of gambling ads.
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