by Kajetan Sawicz

Crackdown on Illegal Gambling in Georgia Leads to Arrests

In a recent crackdown in Georgia’s Adjara region, authorities have charged two individuals with operating an illegal gambling business, broadcasting live casino sessions from a residential building to international online platforms, causing significant financial loss to the state in unpaid permit fees.

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Georgia’s Stance on Unlicensed Gambling

In a recent development, Georgia’s Ministry of Finance has announced the arrest of two individuals accused of operating an illicit gambling business in the Adjara region, a picturesque area in the country’s southwest. The Investigation Service of the Ministry disclosed that the accused were orchestrating unlicensed live casino sessions from a residential property, streaming these activities to online gambling platforms based outside the country. This operation not only breached local gambling laws but also resulted in a significant financial loss to the state, estimated at around ₾100,000 ($37,740) in missed permit fees.

The Ministry of Finance has confirmed the full recovery of the lost state budget funds following a thorough investigation into the matter. The individuals involved now face severe legal consequences, with potential prison sentences ranging from three to five years, underscoring the Georgian government’s firm stance against unauthorized gambling activities.

Tightening Regulations

In a related move to further regulate the gambling sector, Georgia’s Prime Minister, Irakli Gharibashvili, introduced stringent measures last December. These include increased taxes on gambling profits, from 10% to 15%, and a higher levy on player withdrawals, which will see a rise from 2% to 5%. These tax adjustments are projected to bolster the state’s revenue by an additional GEL 400m (€137m) annually.

Additionally, Georgia is set to enforce stricter age restrictions on gambling activities. Starting July 1, 2024, the Code of Administrative Offences will impose penalties on operators who breach the country’s minimum gambling age of 25, with fines escalating for repeated offenses. This initiative extends to internet cafés, bars, and shops, which could face substantial fines for facilitating underage gambling.

Our Comment on the Article

This crackdown on illegal gambling in Georgia highlights the government’s commitment to upholding the law and protecting the integrity of its gambling industry. The swift recovery of lost funds and the imposition of strict penalties demonstrate a zero-tolerance policy towards unauthorized gambling operations. Furthermore, the enhanced regulatory measures reflect a proactive approach to address potential social issues associated with gambling, particularly among the youth. As the landscape of the iGaming and gambling industry continues to evolve, such decisive actions serve as a reminder of the importance of compliance and the potential consequences of operating outside the legal framework.

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