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Uzbekistan opens doors to gambling: overview of changes

On April 19, 2024, Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan No. UP-68 “On Measures to Improve the Regulation of Organizing and Conducting Risk-Based Games and Lotteries” was signed. The main innovation of this Decree is the permission for organizations to conduct risk-based games online and engage in bookmaking activities from January 1, 2025.

The activities related to organizing lotteries, online games, and bookmaking will be possible only on the basis of licenses issued by the National Agency of Perspective Projects of the Republic of Uzbekistan (NAPP). This same Agency has been appointed as the authorized body for regulating and licensing such activities. According to the Decree, state bodies and organizations, local government authorities, as well as charitable foundations and organizations have the right to conduct lotteries exclusively through lottery organizers, on a contractual basis.

It should also be noted that only residents and non-residents of the Republic of Uzbekistan who have reached the age of 18 can participate in lotteries, online games, and bookmaker’s bets organized on the basis of licenses. NAPP and the Department for Combating Economic Crimes under the General Prosecutor’s Office will monitor and control compliance by organizers of lotteries, online games, and bookmaking with the legislation on combating the legalization of proceeds from crime, terrorism financing, and financing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Moreover, the Decree defines a special taxation regime for such activities for a period of 5 years, namely:

  • Legal entities organizing online games, lotteries, and engaging in bookmaking will become taxpayers of a turnover tax at a rate of 4% levied on the total income from activities (excluding all paid winnings and returned bets).
  • Income of individuals received from winnings in online games, bookmaker’s bets, and lotteries conducted on the basis of issued licenses is exempt from personal income tax.

The NAPP press service statement notes that the Decree was developed based on a careful study of advanced foreign experience to introduce modern technologies in the regulation of activities related to organizing risk-based games and lotteries. The experience of Singapore, Hungary, South Korea, Georgia, and several other countries was studied in the preparation of the document. NAPP emphasizes that the measures provided for in the Decree are primarily aimed at protecting the rights and interests of citizens, preventing and combating gambling addiction, and preventing the outflow of funds from the country.