Armenia’s National Statistical Service reports that the service sector in the country grew by 2.7% in 2015 when compared to 2014 and that the “culture, entertainment and relaxation” sub-sector grew by a whopping 68.1%.
In response to a Hetq inquiry, Armenia’s Ministry of Finance says that four licensed casinos currently operate in Armenia, down from eleven in 2013.
The drop is due to changes in the Law on Games and Casinos for Profit.
According to the finance ministry, three of the casinos operate in Kotayk Province – two in Tzaghkadzor and one in Abovyan. The fourth casino is in the Syunik town of Meghri.
The biggest is the Shangri La Yerevan casino located on the Yerevan-Abovyan highway. It’s the closest of the four to Yerevan.
The casino belongs to a company called Onira Club Ltd., owned by Gagik Tzarukyan, former head of the Prosperous Armenia Party.
Onira Club Ltd. also owns the Multi Grand Hotel and the Paravon complex. Thus, the taxes paid by Onira don’t all derive from the casino which is located nearby.
In 2015, Onira Club paid 4.7 billion AMD (US$9.8 million) in taxes, making it the twentieth largest taxpayer in Armenia.
The second largest casino, in terms of taxes paid, is the Royal in the resort town of Tzaghkadzor. It’s owned by Royal Entertainment Inc., registered in the British Virgin Islands. In 2015 it paid some 369 million AMD ($771,372) in taxes, making it the 314th largest taxpayer overall.
Then comes Senator Sport Ltd. which owes the Senator casino. It is also located in Tzaghkadzor. In 2015, it paid 150 million AMD in taxes ($313,566), making it the 691st largest taxpayer.
The fourth casino, in Meghri, is owned by Limon Games Ltd. But the casino itself has no name. It too makes the list of the 1,000 largest taxpayers in Armenia.
Two other casinos were licensed last year that aren’t in business today.
One was the Parisian casino owned by Temp Set Ltd. it paid 164 million AMD in taxes in 2015.
The other was the Vulkan, owned by Marnu Ltd. It paid 153 million AMD in taxes.