Irakli Gharibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia, has said that the administration will enforce all Eastern European states’ strictest online casino protections.
Yesterday, Gharibashvili instructed the government to take a “two-phase approach” to reforming Georgia’s gambling laws, imposing strict protections that will reflect a “state of prohibition” close to online casinos.
Lasha Khutsishvili Georgia’s Finance Minister was instructed to draft a bill to enact phase 1 of the changes that will impose a “significant increase in online casino taxes, ban online casino advertising and increase the Minimum age-eligible to play gambling over 25 years.”
Phase 1 will be followed by a yet-to-be-defined mandate, in which Gharibashvili stated that his government would adopt further measures to “ban online casino operations.”
Gharibashvili stressed that drastic action was required to curb the online casino market as an economic and civic duty to protect Georgia.
“1,500 million Georgian lari (460 million euros) are exported out of the country through online casinos. Our civilians, the young generation, gamble in online casinos everyday and lose their capital,” the prime minister’s statement read.
Gharibashvili stressed that he was willing to work with Parliament to find “optimal and reasonable” solutions to regulate gambling. However, the prime minister declared that the majority of Georgian citizens would support his drastic orders.
By executing Gharibashvili’s demands, Georgia will reverse its pro-industry stance, which saw previous governments promote igaming as a flourishing sector of the Caucasus country.
In 2019, Flutter Entertainment invested € 100 million to acquire a 51% stake in Georgian online gambling operator Adjarabet, establishing Georgia as the foundation of the FTSE100 firm for future EE and CIS market expansions.
“Unfortunately, our citizens’ money is leaving the country. This amount is one thousand five hundred million dollars and 99% is money of people who live in poverty and without work. We are also contemplating banning online casino advertising and raising the minimum age for gambling to 25. The second stage should ban online casino operations,” Gharibashvili commented on the developments.