29 Nov, 2021
According to George Mamulaishvili, the head of the administration of the gaming business association, the government's decision to regulate the gambling sector was unexpected for him and the representatives of the field.
As he explained in a conversation with BMG, the government's approach will damage not only the gaming business, but also the country's investment environment.
"This decision was completely unexpected for us, because the government has always had a correct and loyal approach to the gaming business. Most of the developed countries of the world have agreed that the legalization of the gambling business is correct, rather than its prohibition. Regarding the mentioned approach, I think it is quite a wrong approach when you make any critical decision without consulting the business, or make a statement that directly harms the business. Here we are talking about quite large foreign companies that are represented on the international market, and accordingly, such statements and approach are quite damaging not only for business, but also for the image of the country", said George Mamulaishvili.
He also recalled the ongoing working meetings with the government on this topic two years ago and noted that then the private sector convinced the government about the possible harm of the regulations.
"As for the conversation on this topic so far, two years ago we had quite extensive speeches on the mentioned topic, I am talking about raising the threshold to 25 years. We explained to the government quite well what would be the result of raising this threshold and that the government would not get the desired effect, on the contrary, it would have the opposite effect, and therefore, we thought that what we achieved two years ago was enough and we would not need to go back to the starting point, because I think First of all, this request is not justified in any way, second - there is no such practice anywhere in the world and it turns out that the leading countries of the world say that a person from a certain age - 18 or even 21 - should have the right to play in a casino.
I can name you two countries from the recent past that, on the contrary, lowered the age limit from 21 to 18 - these are Japan and France. Therefore, they do a complete analysis and as a result changes are adopted. It turns out that the analysis was not done and the figure was taken from the air.
When a person can, at the age of 21, even be a member of the city council, or work in a fairly high position, he should be able to dispose of his own funds. We also made a statement that this category of people will move to illegal sites, which will create quite a serious problem, and no one is going to take responsibility for it. I have a feeling this is going to be very bad because we're going back to the 1990s and 2000s when there was complete deregulation in this business. Today, the gambling business is quite well developed in Georgia. The legislation is quite sophisticated, as well as in terms of verification and identification, but when it comes to illegal sites, the authorities cannot control either a minor or a person under 25 years old", said the Head of the Association's Administration.
We remind you that today the Ministry of Finance presented a detailed model of the regulation of gambling, which prohibits 1 million people from playing. Among them are persons under 25 years of age, civil servants and vulnerable citizens.
The government will send the draft law for the regulation of gambling to the parliament in December. The Minister of Finance did not specify how much the budget will lose, but he noted that the change in the taxable base will neutralize these losses.