Armenian authorities are set to halt the use of cash payments within the region’s gambling industry. 

The move to restrict payment journeys comes after the government’s passing of a bill. initially drafted by MPs Tsovinar Vardanyan and Gevorg Papoyan, who cited social responsibility concerns. 

Local media reported Papoyan as saying: “With this bill we will significantly limit the ability of citizens to make easy bets.” The MP also stated that the government intended to address social welfare, health and education issues. 

A ban on cash gambling has been in the political pipeline in Armenia for several months, with legislators asserting that the ban would protect vulnerable people in the country. 

Addressing the Armenian Parliament in support of the ban last month, Papoyan said: “The main target of the bill is citizens who are socially vulnerable but at the same time have gambling addiction, which worsens their social condition.

“If the law takes effect, the cash option will be banned. Then, after six months, the e-money option will also be banned, leaving only the bank transaction, meaning the non-cash payment option.”

The passage of the legislation comes as Armenian authorities take an increasingly confrontational stance against the gambling industry, which has so far predominantly focused on advertising. 

Similarly to the recent payment legislation, Finance Minister Armen Hayrapetyan’s amendments to the nationa’s advertising law passed through parliament by a large majority – 56 MPs voted in favour versus eight against. 

The legislation will impose greater restrictions on operators’ marketing abilities, prohibiting internet advertising and restricting adverts to ‘the premises of four-star and above hotels, border checkpoints and in the front of buildings carrying out the similar business activities’.