SBC News Georgia PM calls for the prohibition of online casino 

Georgia PM calls for the prohibition of online casino 

Irakli Gharibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia, has declared that the government will enforce the toughest online casino protections of all Eastern European states. 

Yesterday, Gharibashvili instructed the government to adopt a ‘two-phase approach’ to reform Georgia’s gambling laws, enforcing stringent protections that will mirror a near ‘prohibition status’ for online casino.

Lasha Khutsishvili Georgia’s Minister of Finance has been instructed to draft a bill to sanction phase-1 of changes that will impose a “significant increase on online casino taxes, prohibit online casino advertising and increase the minimum eligible age of play for gambling to +25 years”.

Phase-1 will be followed by a yet to be defined mandate, in which Gharibashvili stated that his government would further adopt new measures to ‘prohibit online casino operations’.

Gharibashvili underlined that drastic actions were required to curb the online casino market as an economic and civic duty protection Georgia.   

“1.5 billion Georgian Lari (€460m) is exported out of the country through online casinos. Our citizens, young generation, play in online casinos on a daily basis and lose their money,” read the PM’s statement.

Gharibashvili underlined that he was willing to work with Parliament to find “optimal and reasonable” solutions to govern gambling. However, the PM stated that his drastic orders would be supported by the majority of Georgian citizens.

Executing Gharibashvili demands, Georgia will reverse its pro-industry stance, which saw former governments promote igaming as a burgeoning sector of  the Caucasus nation.

In 2019, Flutter Entertainment invested €100 million to acquire a 51% stake in Georgian online gambling operator Adjarabet – establishing Georgia as the FTSE100 firm’s base for further EE and CIS market expansions.

“Unfortunately, the money of our citizens is flowing out of the country, this amount is one billion five hundred million dollars and 99% of it is the money of people living in poverty with no jobs. We also consider prohibiting online casino advertising and increase the minimum gambling age to 25 years. The second stage should prohibit operations of online casinos.” Gharibashvili commented on developments.

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