SBC News Georgia aims to ring fence online casino licences

Georgia aims to ring fence online casino licences

The Republic of Georgia continues to tighten its national gambling laws, announcing new measures on licensing and taxation. 

This week, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili approved new measures to ring-fence online casino licences, which can only be operated by land-based casinos based in Georgia.

The decision could see online casino licences limited to the Georgian-domiciled businesses of Adjara Group, Crystalbet and Iveria.

However, the plans to ring-fence online casino licences were further met by the news that the government would charge an additional GEL 5m (€1.6m) for exclusive rights to operate an ‘online casino environment’.

PM Garibashvili maintains that the government must enforce new rules to combat the spread of gambling addiction.

In 2021, Garibashvili signed an executive order raising Georgia’s gambling age from 18 to 25. Furthermore, the PM instructed officials to draft laws that will restrict over one million Georgians from entering gambling establishments including civil servants and those who are on government assistance.

2021 changes saw the government impose a new 10% tax on gross gaming revenues, alongside a 2% tax on player winnings.  

Georgian operators have contested the enforcement of a +25 age gambling restriction stating that the PM’s executive order was passed unlawfully.  

Giorgi Mamulaishvili, Head of the Georgian Gambling Business Association (GGA) has lambasted the government’s restrictions, stating that they have infringed on Georgian gambling’s ability to attract foreign investments.

“Considering all taxes and fees, casino operators in Georgia would replenish the budget by 750,000 GEL (€264,000) every quarter,” Mamulaishvili, outlined 

“There is no doubt that such restrictions are ineffective and the government must approach gambling addiction differently since citizens are still playing on illegal foreign sites, of which there are approximately 700.”

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