Uzbekistan Opens Doors to Legalized Online Betting and Lotteries

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan has ushered in a transformative decree on April 19 titled “On Measures to Improve the Regulation of the Organization and Conduct of Lotteries and Risk-Based Games in the Republic of Uzbekistan.” This decree marks a significant shift in the country’s stance on gambling, abolishing the ban effective January 1, 2025, and paving the way for a structured framework for online risk-based games and betting activities.

The decision to legalize betting activities reflects a protracted deliberation in Uzbekistan. Initial steps were taken in December 2019, when President Mirziyoyev sanctioned the legalization of bookmakers. However, this decision underwent revision in April 2022. Subsequently, in April 2023, the president prioritized the establishment of a regulatory framework for betting activities.

Insights from the National Agency

The National Agency for Advanced Projects (NAAP), the designated state authority overseeing regulatory and licensing matters in the sector, underscored the imperative of state regulation in the gambling realm. Emphasizing the imperative to combat illegal gambling enterprises, safeguard players’ rights, and bolster state revenues, NAAP advocated for a structured approach to gambling regulation.

President Mirziyoyev’s decree aims to leverage international best practices and modern technologies to enhance the regulation of risk-based games and lotteries. By fostering an environment conducive to investment and tourism, the decree seeks to fortify Uzbekistan’s economic landscape. Key measures outlined include establishing legal frameworks for online gambling, implementing player protection mechanisms, and curbing gambling addiction.

Commencing January 1, 2025, a taxation regime will be instituted for license holders, mandating turnover taxes for organizers of online games, betting activities, and lotteries. This measure is designed to curb revenue concealment and bolster state tax coffers, providing a vital financial lifeline for national development initiatives.

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