The tiny country of Andorra, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains, sandwiched in between France and Spain, is to open its first casino amid a raft of new regulations that will also open the door to online gaming.
The government has been given a draft bill to lay the foundations for the regulatory framework.
Casinos have been banned from the Catalan-speaking country which operates as a tax haven. The government has said it will now bring taxation in line with international standards.
Antoni Riberaygua, Minister to the President, said: “This is about the opening of a new calm and prudent activity, which can lead to the growth and emergence of a sector potentially attractive to future visitors.”
He added that that the Andorra Gaming Office wants to sign agreements with neighbouring countries too. “Complying with regulations without the cooperation of these neighbouring states was inconceivable,” he explained.
Operators would be split into five categories with individual licenses for casino, bingo, lotteries and betting, and online gambling, with the online category also being split to allow contests and charity raffles.
The government will set up an Andorra Gambling Regulator responsible for issuing licenses. The government wants to develop its online sector to allow both local and global operations.
Andorra has a population of around 85,000 with the tourism sector crucial to the economy with an influx of 10.2m visitors each year.