Armenia is a gambling-friendly nation with numerous gaming options for people both in the real world and online. Land-based casinos were legalized in the early 90s to go along with a plethora of sports betting shops, horse racing options, poker and the lottery. Yerevan serves as Armenia’s gambling capital with 10 casinos and 100+ smaller gaming parlors.
Online gambling in Armenia is likewise mostly accepted by the government. Nearly all of the largest international casino sites accept Armenian customers and are capable of accepting Armenian Dram deposits. Of the many Armenian casino sites in operation today, we recommend the following for anyone interested in finding a safe place to play online:
Each of the above Armenian online casinos operates openly in Armenia and holds a license from the UK Gaming Commission. This means all sites listed on this page have been vetted and approved by the world’s most demanding gambling regulator. If safety of your money is a concern, these are the site you should consider first.
Armenian gambling laws do not prohibit players form visiting international gambling websites so you have quite a bit of freedom in deciding where to play. There are also a few local Armenian online casinos such as Vivarobet and Toto Gaming, but we still find international sites to offer more a better overall experience due to having greater game variety, better software and more generous deposit bonuses for new customers.
The one advantage local Armenian casino sites offer is native support of the Armenian language. Larger international casinos have yet to translate their websites into Armenian. In all likelihood, this decision has been made due the expensive translating hundreds of games for a country whose entire population numbers fewer than 3 million people. However, the major international operators do offer Russian and English translations of their websites.
Our local gaming laws are permissive and this has created a healthy, competitive and robust market for online gambling. Both local and foreign casino sites remain fairly free to run themselves as they see fit as long as they treat players well and honor all payout requests. There has been recent talk of strengthening Armenian gambling laws to better keep gambling in check, but even those efforts have been focused on when/where gambling services may be advertised. There is no indication that Armenian authorities have imminent plans to change the status quo.
Legality of Online Gambling in Armenia
The “Law of the Republic of Armenia of Chance and Casinos” (PDF link here) regulates most gambling in Armenia. The law on games and chance requires all casino operations to register with the Ministry of Finance and adhere to certain regulations such as:
- Casino games must offer a minimum return-to-player rate of 86%
- Prohibit customers age 21 or lower
- Pay players their winnings the first time players request to be paid
At various times over the past two decades, lawmakers have expressed concerns over the proliferation of gambling but have never moved to ban the activity outright. In 2000, the law required all casinos to be located near Yerevan or other major cities. Several years later, that law was amended to kick all casinos outside of Yerevan in an effort to make gambling less accessible to the poorest citizens. That law was amended yet again and casinos now operate in Yerevan once again.
In 2014, two lawmakers presented legislation to amend the gambling law and require casinos to block access to anyone under 21 or to anyone for which it could be proven that gambling has caused financial hardships. Those same lawmakers also sought to make it a requirement that all Armenian casinos offer self-exclusion programs that problem gamblers could use to ban themselves from visiting casinos.
Continuing their efforts to curb problem gambling, lawmakers introduced additional legislation in 2015 regarding the advertising of online casinos in Armenia. These new regulations prohibit online gambling ads on radio, television and other mediums.
More recently, the Ministry of Finance developed new regulations requiring a more stringent licensing process for Armenian casino sites. Their goal is to hold online casinos to the same standards as land-based casinos, to better monitor operators for good behavior and to combat money laundering.
New laws passed in 2016 finally addressed the issue of foreign gambling sites. Previously, foreign online casinos were simply asked to apply for Armenian gambling licenses but authorities took no measures to block those sites or otherwise trouble them if they refused to acquire proper licensing. An amendment to the Law on Licensing put a change to that beginning 1 June, 2017. Going forward, all online casinos are required to apply for licenses just like local gambling operators.