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Azerbaijan Gambling

Azerbaijani Gambling Laws

There is no legal gambling in Azerbaijan. In 1997, there were 12 Azerbaijani casinos located in the city of Baku. The following year, they were forced to close due to a ban on gambling by then-President Heydar Aliyev. He deemed gambling to be contrary to “traditional Azerbaijani values.”

While most countries in Central Asia have banned gambling, the Azerbaijani anti-gambling laws at least have an interesting story behind them.

President Aliyev's ban came on the heels of a scandal involving his son, Ilkham Aliyev. The young man reportedly lost $6 million at a Turkish casino and was forced to cover the losses by handing over a diplomatic mansion located in Baku. The location quickly became a gambling den and center for money laundering.

Azerbaijan Information

Azerbaijan is located in Eurasia and bordered by Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Iran. The exclave of Nakhchivan is bordered by Armenia, Iran and Turkey. Several islands in the Caspian Sea are also the property of Azerbaijan. Eight districts in the southwestern part of the country are controlled by Armenia, following the Nagorno-Karabakh War of 1994.

Azerbaijan is a member of the United Nations, the Human Rights Council, Council of Europe, the NATO Partnership for Peace program, GUAM and many others. They are active in fighting international terrorism and have assisted in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan. It is believed that Azerbaijan will one day apply for membership in the European Union.

Rich in oil and natural gas, Azerbaijan also produces iron, copper, titanium, gold, silver and several other metals. It is currently considered one of the most important spots in the world for oil exploration.

Agriculture and fishing also contribute to the economy, with cotton, tobacco, potatoes, grain and sugar beets being grown. The fishing industry relies primarily on the beluga and sturgeon.

The national currency is the Azerbaijani manat. Other currencies, such as the euro, may also be accepted.

The primary language is Azerbaijani, which is spoken by 92.5% of the population. Other languages spoken in the country include Russian, Lezgin and Talysh.

Ninety-six percent of the population is estimated to follow the teachings of Islam. The majority of these are Shia, while a 15% minority are Sunni. Christians are also present, being comprised of Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists and Molokans. Jews, Hare Krishna and Jehovah’s Witnesses can also be found in small numbers.

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