Simon’s Guide to Gambling in Turkmenistan

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The only two legal casinos in Turkmenistan are located in the capitol, Ashgabat

Gambling in Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan is a Middle Eastern country, a former member of the Soviet Union. Until the dissolution of the Union it was officially called the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic. After gaining it’s independence in 1991, as in many other ex-soviet countries, gambling laws loosened up and casino gambling became legal in Turkmenistan, despite it being a country where the majority of the population is Muslim.

Although natural gas reserves are being exploited more efficiently than back in the Soviet days, Turkmenistan is still not a rich country by any means, and therefore the domestic opportunities for gambling operators are also quite limited.

The state of online gambling is not really rosy either. Turkmenistan ranks among the most repressive and closed societies in the world. The internet is heavily regulated and available only to a small fraction of the population. It was only in 2008, when citizens of Turkmenstan were first allowed to have personal internet connections. There is also a robust censoring system in place, which targets mainly political content, but online gambling sites are also widely blocked. The only ISP in the country TurkmenTelekom is completely controlled by the government and authorities basically have full reign over what content Turkmen residents can access over the web.

Running any kind of gambling establishment requires a licence in the country, which probably includes online gambling platforms as well (given that they are not specifically excluded), but none had been licensed so far. Foreign operators therefore, to the best of our understanding, are technically illegal.

But due to state of internet penetration, internet freedom, lack of regulation and small market size no online casino ever tried to acquire a licence in Turkmenistan.

There is no info on whether players are prosecuted for playing on foreign websites or not. The reason for that is that it simply doesn’t seem to be a thing that a lot of people in the country do, or even able to do. On top of government censorship, the estimated broadband penetration in the country was less than 0.04% in 2014*. This number is not at all surprising, if we consider, that in 2013, a 34Mbps broadband subscription from TurkmenTelekom costed a stunning 96,023 manats (33,700 US dollars) monthly*.

 

*1. Source: Turkmenistan – Telecoms, Mobile and Internet

*2. Source: Enemies of the Internet: Turkmenistan: News black hole

 

 

 

Summary:

 

 

Casino gambling in Turkmenistan

 

Online casino gambling in Turkmenistan: foreign operators are technically illegal, as license is required for all types of gambling business, but none is issued to online platforms, many online casinos appear to be blocked, individual players are not likely to be prosecuted.

 

Turkmenistan is not a huge gambling market, there are only two licensed casinos in its capitol, Asgabat, the Grand Casino and the Hotel Ak-Altyn Casino, both modest in size. Locals are welcome in these establishments, but a large portion of the players are tourists from neighbouring countries that do not have casinos, such as Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Establishing online casinos is technically possible in the country, although no licenses have been issued so far, and given the state of the internet, this is not likely to change soon.

Several sources suggest, that many foreign online casinos are blocked by the government, but I didn’t find any info on how effective the blocking system actually is. Despite all this controversy, some of the major players in the online casino industry do accept players from Turkmenistan.

To sum it up, those few, who actually have access to the internet in the country are not likely to get prosecuted for participating in online casino games on foreign websites.

 

 

Bingo in Turkmenistan

 

Online Bingo in Turkmenistan: foreign operators are technically illegal, as license is required for all types of gambling business, but none is issued to online platforms, many online Bingo sites appear to be blocked, individual players are not likely to be prosecuted

 

Bingo is pretty much nonexistent in the former Soviet country Turkmenistan (just like in most other former USSR countries). It’s not well known in any of the Islamic states, nor in Asia in general.

Some of the foreign Bingo sites are even blocked by the only ISP in Turkmenistan, which is closely controlled by the government. I couldn’t unearth any info on the prosecution of players, but its likely, that individuals players, if they manage to circumvent the ISP blocks, are not prosecuted. And there are online foreign bingo websites, whcih accept players from Turkmenistan.

 

 

Poker in Turkmenistan

 

Online Poker in Turkmenistan: foreign operators are technically illegal, as license is required for all types of gambling business, but none is issued to online platforms, many online Poker sites appear to be blocked, individual players are not likely to be prosecuted

 

Land based Poker is legal and licensed in Turkmenistan and both of the two casinos operating in the capitol, Ashgabat have poker tables.

Online Poker is not a thriving business for the reasons mentioned above, although technically the state could license such sites. Some major foreign operators, however accept players from the country, and individual players are unlikely to be prosecuted.

 

 

Sports Betting in Turkmenistan

 

Online sports Betting in Turkmenistan: foreign operators are technically illegal, as license is required for all types of gambling business, but none is issued to online platforms, many online bookmakers appear to be blocked, individual players are not likely to be prosecuted

 

Land based betting shops are legal and licensed by the state in Turkmenistan. One of the two licensed gambling operators, Tursen Tourism received a licence for running sports betting shops in the country, but it seems, that the Russian company 1xBet also has some land-based bookmakers in the Turkmen city, Turkmenabat*.

Horse races are a form of entertainment in the country, however no betting is allowed on the race tracks in Turkmenistan.

Although, it is technically possible for the state to license online betting sites, no such licenses have been issued so far. Individual players, however are not likely to be prosecuted for playing on foreign platforms.

 

 

*Source: 1xBet.com Locations Turkmenistan

 

 

Lottery in Turkmenistan

 

Online lottery in Turkmenistan: foreign operators are technically illegal, as license is required for all types of gambling business, but none is issued to online platforms, many online lottery sites appear to be blocked, individual players are not likely to be prosecuted

 

Lottery is legal and licenses for conducting lotteries are issued by the government, and there is no indication in the legislation that online lotteries would be exempt.

Players are also not likely to be prosecuted for participating in foreign online lotteries from Turkmenistan. However, no reliable information is available about this due to the extremely low number of internet users in the country.

 

 

 

Bitcoin Gambling in Turkmenistan

 

Bitcoin Gambling in Turkmenistan: foreign operators are technically illegal, as license is required for all types of gambling business, but none is issued to online platforms, many online Bitcoin gambling sites appear to be blocked, individual players are not likely to be prosecuted

 

Bitcoin is legal in Turkmenistan, but no licences for Bitcoin casinos have been issued by the country (nor for any kind of online gambling operators, for that matter) so foreign platforms are technically illegal.

That being said, individual players are not likely to be prosecuted.

 

 

 

Online gambling websites accepting players from Turkmenistan

 

Despite the legal issues in Turkmenistan many major foreign sites accept players from the country and people are not likely to be prosecuted for playing on these platforms.

 

Banner for the Betsson online casino, which is available to players from Turkmenistan

Betsson online casino accepting players from Turkmenistan

Banner of the Betsafe online casino, which accepts players from Turkmenistan.

Betsafe online casino accepting players from Turkmenistan

Banner of the Casino Euro online casino, accepting players from Turkmenistan

CasinoEuro online casino accepting players from Turkmenistan

Banner of the Black Lotus online casino accepting players from Turkmenistan.

Black Lotus online casino accepting players from Turkmenistan

Banner of the Lotus Asia online casino, acceptin players from Turkmenistan.

Lotus Asia online casino accepting players from Turkmenistan

Banner of the 32 Red online casino, which accepts players from Turkmenistan.

32Red online casino accepting players from Turkmenistan

Banner for the BGO online casino, available to players from Turkmenistan

BGO online casino accepting players from Turkmenistan

This the banner ad of Gt Bets online casino. The online casino accepts players from Turkmenistan.

GT Bets accepts players from Turkmenistan – accepting Bitcoins as well

 

 

This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.

 

Last updated: 2015 10. 14

Summary
Simon's Guide to Gambling in Turkmenistan
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling in Turkmenistan
Description
An overview of the legal status of online and offline forms of gambling in the ex-Soviet country, Turkmenistan.
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