SBC News Georgia adds 1.5m citizens to PM's gambling ban

Georgia adds 1.5m citizens to PM’s gambling ban

The Ministry of Finance of Georgia has updated the ‘electronic registry of citizens’ to comply with upcoming changes to the Caucasus nation’s gambling laws.

Applied via an executive order from the Prime Minister, Irakli Gharibashvili, from 1 July 2024, the new laws of the ‘Code of Administrative Offences’ will come into force in Georgia, which involves a strict tightening of compliance rules across all gambling segments.

Georgia will enforce new gambling laws prohibiting all citizens under the age of 25 from participating in gambling activities (land-based and online).

The Code will further prohibit all government and public sector employees from gambling and those registered with criminal offenses by Georgian courts.

This initiative has been overseen by the Revenue Office of the Ministry of Finance, which updated the government’s ‘electronic registry’ as the central database that will monitor Georgian citizens’ activities with gambling.

As reported by SBCEurasia, the Ministry of Finance this week confirmed that the data of 1,503,989 citizens have been automatically entered into the register of persons prohibited from participating in gambling.

The 1.5m figure includes all Georgian citizens under the age of 25, those employed by the government, those with criminal records, and citizens who have voluntarily asked to be excluded from gambling.

The Georgian government has imposed tougher surveillance on gambling businesses, which will be forced to submit individual customer databases for government agencies to cross-reference citizens who have participated in gambling.

Whether retail, leisure, or gambling-specific, Georgian businesses that do not comply with cross-referencing customer age-checks will be fined up to GEL 30,000 (€10,000).

Alongside the introduction of tougher compliance measures, the government is raising income taxes on gambling profits from 10% to 15%, a measure confirmed in Georgia’s national budget for 2024.

PM Gharibashvili has also instructed agencies to review the possibility of increasing the tax on customer winnings from 2% to 5%, a tax measure which could be implemented by the end of the year.

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