by Adam Dworak

Georgia Implements Stricter Gambling Regulations

In a move to strengthen the regulation of the gambling sector, the Ministry of Finance of Georgia has announced significant updates to the nation’s electronic register of citizens who are prohibited from gambling.

This update comes in anticipation of new gambling laws set to take effect from July 1, as part of the broader efforts by the Georgian government to promote responsible gambling and safeguard vulnerable groups.

Comprehensive Updates to the Gambling Ban List

The upcoming changes, endorsed by an executive order from Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, will introduce a ban on gambling for public sector employees and individuals under the age of 25, applicable across both land-based venues and online platforms. Additionally, individuals charged with local criminal offences will also be prohibited from engaging in gambling activities.

As a result of these new regulations, the electronic register now includes 1,503,989 citizens who are automatically barred from gambling. This list encompasses all state employees, individuals under 25, those with criminal records, and citizens who have voluntarily chosen to self-exclude from gambling.

Enforcement Measures and Compliance

To ensure compliance with the new rules, gambling operators are required to synchronize their customer databases with the updated register. The Ministry of Finance has outlined strict penalties for any breaches, with fines reaching up to GEL 30,000 (approximately €10,000).

Fiscal Implications: Gambling Tax Hike

In conjunction with these regulatory updates, the Georgian government has also announced adjustments to the taxation structure for the gambling sector. An executive order signed in December by Prime Minister Gharibashvili will see an increase in the tax rate on gambling profits from 10% to 15%, alongside a rise in the tax on player withdrawals from 2% to 5%.

These tax hikes are projected to generate an additional GEL 400 million (around €137 million) annually for the state, signifying a substantial financial impact on the gambling industry and its contribution to public funds.

Our Comment on the Article

The recent updates by the Georgian Ministry of Finance and the subsequent regulatory and fiscal changes represent a significant shift in the country’s approach to gambling regulation.

By imposing age and employment restrictions, as well as increasing financial obligations for operators, Georgia is taking a firm stance on promoting responsible gambling and mitigating the risks associated with gambling addiction. These measures not only aim to protect vulnerable demographics but also reflect a broader global trend towards tighter gambling regulations.

As the Georgian gambling sector adjusts to these changes, the impacts on both operators and consumers will be closely monitored by industry observers and regulatory bodies alike, offering valuable insights into the effectiveness of such regulatory frameworks in achieving their intended objectives.

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