Deadline of operation of casinos within communities

Azat Artsakh – Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR)
May 5, 2004

DEADLINE OF OPERATION OF CASINOS WITHIN COMMUNITIES

Last year the National Assembly adopted the law on gambling and
playhouses according to which the owners of casinos were to move
casinos from the territories of the communities. This article of the
law is enacted since July 1, 2004. Before the adoption of the law
casinos operated in Karabakh, and their activity was regulated by
other legislative acts. Before the adoption of the law the National
Assembly raised the question of playhouses in Karabakh, which work
without licence and therefore do not pay state taxes. After the
adoption of the law we were informed at the Ministry of Finance that
after the payment of 600 thousand drams of licence fee the playhouses
received licences. According to the vice minister of finance Maxim
Hakobjanian, all over Karabakh 8 licenses were granted to 5 subjects.
The legal person wanting to open casinos at different places,
according to the law, pays the state levy and receives the licence for
each playhouse. Besides, if the casino will operate after 24:00, the
owner must pay additional 400 thousand drams state levy. According to
the head of the department of finance and economy of the City Hall of
Stepanakert Nairi Harutiunian, the additional fee was paid by 4 legal
persons. According to the article 169 of the Code of Administrative
Lawbreaking, illegal entrepreneurship is controlled by the tax
agencies. Against the 7 licenses granted in Stepanakert we counted
eight playhouses (which have signs), one of them does not operate. We
do not know how many playhouses operate without signs,
i.e. illegally. According to the law, operation without licence is
fined five times over the licence fee (5 x 600 thousand drams). By the
way, those legal persons who acquired licence presently, were not
fined although everyone knew that they operated before the autumn of
2003. Casinos are profitable business, therefore the owners must pay
adequate taxes to the state and the community budgets. However, people
are more interested in the risk of addiction to gambling than their
fiscal activities. Therefore the National Assembly maintained that
persons under 21 cannot enter a playhouse. People under 21 should be
refused entrance. We found out that the Ministry of Finance will
regulate this procedure. There is another circumstance. As it has
already been mentioned, July 1 is the deadline after which arcade
games and casinos may not operate within the territories of the
communities. We know that several owners of casinos have already
started the construction of new buildings outside the town. According
to the head of the architectural department of the City Hall of
Stepanakert Nwer Mikaelian, after the adoption of the law no area was
provided in Stepanakert for building casinos. The head of the NA
committee of finance and economy M. Danielian informed that not only
the casinos but also separate game machines will be forbidden to
operate in Stepanakert.

NAIRA HAYRUMIAN

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