Gamblers and stakeholders in Georgia face a new reality as the government addresses a gambling participation surge labeled as “catastrophic”.
With a remarkable increase in sector turnover, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili is taking a decisive stance.
Through tax hikes and regulatory reforms, the goal is to protect particularly vulnerable demographics and instill a sense of responsibility in the gambling industry.
Stakeholders are urged to stay informed of the new fiscal measures and regulatory changes reshaping the gambling landscape in Georgia.
Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili has initiated a rigorous clampdown on the gambling industry, citing an alarming surge in gambling activities to ‘catastrophic’ levels. During his fiscal address, Gharibashvili expressed concern over the sector’s turnover which has seen a significant rise from GEL48 billion to GEL52 billion, marking a worrying trend in public participation in gambling.
Despite prior attempts to stem the tide, including advertising bans and age restrictions that barred 1.5 million young Georgians from gambling, participation rates have continued to escalate. In a bold move, the government has now resolved to increase the taxation on gambling business profits from the existing 10% to 15%. Additionally, gamblers will now face a 5% tax on money withdrawals, a considerable increase from the previous 2%.
These taxation amendments are projected to generate an additional GEL400 million annually, as part of the government’s broader strategy to rein in the pervasive influence of gambling. Gharibashvili’s remarks underscored his dismay at the continued growth of the gambling sector and the government’s resolution to impose stricter financial penalties on the business.
In line with these developments, earlier reforms initiated by Gharibashvili have focused on mitigating gambling-related harm. These reforms restrict online casinos to entities with land-based operations and follow a comprehensive overhaul of the country’s gambling laws introduced in 2021 to promote safer gambling practices.
The government’s strategy includes a ring-fenced licensing approach for its land-based casino businesses, limiting online casino licenses to these operators, and linking slot offerings to retail parlors. The reform extends to sports betting, confining it to physical bookmakers, with online-only licenses attracting a hefty fee to ensure a balanced competitive field.
These measures, according to Alex Szilaghi, president of Szilaghi Consulting, represent a significant financial burden for the region. The approach seeks to foster the growth of local companies and establish a fair market for all participants. As Georgia grapples with the challenges of gambling regulation, the government’s firm stance paves the way for a more controlled and responsible gambling environment.
Tags: #GeorgiaGamblingTax #GamblingReforms #IrakliGharibashvili #GamblingAgeLimit #OnlineCasinoLicensing #GamblingAdvertisementBan #GamblingTaxIncrease