Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   26 June

‘Disappointed’ lawmaker cites lack of political support for anti-bookmaking bill

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 15, ARMENPRESS. Republican (HHK) faction lawmaker Samvel Farmanyan admits that the bill authored by him and MP Mihran Hakobyan on banning bookmaking lacks sufficient political support. Farmanyan expressed hope in parliament today that the next legislative will be coherent around this issue.

“Problems have their right time for solutions,” he said.

“Sometimes they are impossible to be solved. I am disappointed, I feel that the bill won’t get enough support,” he added.

He told his colleagues that each time problems regarding bookmaking will appear in the press he will forward the information to the lawmakers who will vote against the bill.

In response to MP Alen Simonyan’s argument that the bill is a ‘revenge attempt toward the incumbent government’, Farmanyan said he finds it to be ‘a personal insult’. “I am sure that one day the government of Armenia will have to go for a radical regulation of the problem,” he said.

Earlier, Tsarukyan faction Member of Parliament Naira Zohrabyan argued that the bill of HHK lawmakers Samvel Farmanyan and Mihran Hakobyan on banning bookmaking in Armenia will not solve the task it pursues.

Zohrabyan proposed to withdraw the bill from voting.

“The idea at the basis of the initiative is important,” she said. She reminded that they, together with MP Alen Simonyan, had previously presented a similar bill. “I can confidently say that our bill was regulating in a more literate way the problem that is raised. Tsarukyan bloc will not take part in the voting of the bill,” she said.

She said they have reasonable concerns that the authors of the bill don’t realize the chaos that will be caused in the event of adopting it.

Armenian lawmakers Samvel Farmanyan and Mihran Hakobyan introduced a legislative initiative proposing to prohibit bookmaking and online gambling in Armenia.

Farmanyan presented yesterday the bill on amending the law on gambling in parliament.

“The bill refers to banning the activities of bookmakers in Armenia”, he said. “The activities of both local and international bookmaking companies should be banned by law. Both their office presence and online presence must be banned,” Farmanyan said.

He argues that 99,9% of the society in Armenia agree that bookmaking must be banned. He even proposed the ruling party to raise this issue in one of its campaigning rallies.

“The prime minister, on various occasions, has also noted that gambling is harmful not only from the perspective of economic development, but also inflicts irreversible losses to the moral description of our people,” he said.

Farmanyan said he has worked on the bill for more than five years.

“Different governments have brought different arguments on why banning the existence of these bookmakers would be wrong in Armenia. I believe that the parliament can make this important step, for which all of us can sleep calmly, knowing that we are saving people from a potential sinkhole,” he said, adding that bookmaking offices exist in almost all regions of the country.

He added that upon his recommendation the minimum required age for betting was raised from 18 to 21 previously.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan



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