Turkmen Gambling Info
By Reno Rollins
Casino gambling in Turkmenistan is legal, but it seems to be confined to the city of Ashgabat. No other form of gambling is legal, which is not uncommon for a predominantly Muslim nation.
Underground gambling has always existed in the country, but casinos were legalized so that they could be regulated and taxed. Tourists are advised to stay away from underground casinos in Turkmenistan, as they can be dangerous.
Casinos in Turkmenistan
Two legal casinos can be found in Turkmenistan. They are:
Ak-Altin Casino (Ashgabat, Turkmenistan) This casino is open daily from 7pm until 6am. There are 15 gaming machines and six table games (including Blackjack, Poker and Roulette). The premises also includes a 136-room hotel, two bars and two restaurants. For more information, call +993 12 363 495.
Grand Casino (Ashgabat, Turkmenistan) Open 24 hours a day, this casino has 150 gaming machines and 13 table games (including poker). A hotel, two bars and a restaurant are also located on the premises. For additional information, call +993 12 511 326.
Horse Racing in Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan is home to the Akhal-Teke, a breed of horse known for its intelligence, speed and endurance. These horses are an important part of the Turkmenistan culture, and citizens take great pride in them.
In autumn and spring, races are held at the Hippodrome in Ashgabat and the Turkmenbashi Stud Farm, located south of the city. No legal gambling is allowed at either of these venues.
Located in Central Asia, Turkmenistan is bordered by Afghanistan, Iran, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The capital of the country is Ashgabat, which translates to “the city of love.”
During the fall of the Soviet Union, Turkmenistan declared independence on October 27th, 1991. It was one of the last republics to secede. In that same year, they joined the Commonwealth of Independent States, an organization made up of former Soviet republics. In 2005, they reduced their status in this organization to one of “associate member.”
Former Soviet leader Saparmurat Niyazov retained power in Turkmenistan after the fall of the Soviet Union. He eventually proclaimed himself Turkmenbashi (meaning “leader of the Turkmen people”) and established a cult of personality. In 1999, he declared himself President for Life.
He died unexpectedly from cardiac arrest in 2006. Gurgangulv Berdimuhammedow became acting president, and rumors persisted that he was the illegitimate son of the former president. An election was held in 2007, with the acting president receiving 89% of the vote. Many outside observers, however, accused the election as being unfair.
Freedom of the press is heavily restricted in Turkmenistan, and the country has been accused of numerous human rights violations. Internet connections are scarce, and satellite dishes and cable television have been banned.
The country is divided into five provinces. They are:
- Ahal Province
Turkmenistan is the tenth-largest producer of cotton in the world. They also have the fifth-largest reserves of natural gas. The Turkmen Manat is the official currency of Turkmenistan.
Most citizens are ethnic Turkmens, although Uzbeks and Russians make up a minority. Other groups include Azeris, Kazakhs, Persians, Armenians, Koreans and Tatars.
The official language of the country is Turkmen. Russian, however, is still widely spoken by the population.
Eighty-nine percent of the population follows the teachings of Islam, while nine percent belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church. The religious affiliations of the remaining two percent are unknown.
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