The Georgian government has introduced new regulations for the gambling business. According to the new licensing rules, online casinos can only be registered by operators who already have a land-based casino. Businesses that wish to operate in an online-only environment will be charged an additional 5 million GEL ($1.8 million).
Government officials claim they adhere to the plan to combat gambling addiction, but industry representatives argue that in this way the government only replenishes its budget.
“Considering all taxes and fees, casino operators in Georgia would replenish the budget by 750,000 GEL ($281,000) every quarter,” said Giorgi Mamulaishvili, head of the Georgian Gambling Business Association (GGA).
Also, the industry is reportedly planning to sue over a restriction introduced last year that prohibits people under the age of 25 from gambling.
“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,” added Mamulaishvili.
With the new gambling law amendments, three new license fees have been introduced, each costing 100,000 GEL ($37,500).
Those who violate the permit terms will be fined 7,000 GEL (about $2,600), and those who violate the deadline for paying the fee will be fined 20,000 GEL ($7,500).
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