04 Apr, 2023
According to the indicators for January-February 2023, the Georgian budget received 12% less fees from the gambling business than in the same period last year.
For two months of this year, the consolidated budget received 1,874,465 GEL (approximately $728,000) from the gambling business. Last year, for the same period, the amount was 2,124,796 lari (approximately $825,000).
In the context of slot machines, the indicators are better - here the growth is 160%. In January-February 2023, 808,734 lari (approximately $314,000) was budgeted from slot machines. Last year, the amount was 310,800 lari (approximately $121,000).
It should be recalled that from March 1, 2022, at the initiative of the Prime Minister of Georgia, new rules for regulating the industry came into force in the country , according to which it is forbidden to gamble for persons under 25 years of age, socially unprotected segments of the population, civil servants, persons who applied to the Service income with the requirement to apply the self-restriction mechanism, as well as citizens who were blacklisted based on a court decision at the request of family members.
From March 1, 2022 to this day, as a result of the new rules for regulating the gambling business, 1,457,526 people have been included in the list of banned persons in the database of the Revenue Service of the Ministry of Finance of Georgia.
The head of the Georgian Gambling Association (GGA), George Mamulaishvili , said that such restrictions have little effect, because most of those on this list have switched to foreign illegal sites.
“In social terms, we have received a partially unstable and illegal market. Last year, about a billion lari left the country for such sites. Illegal sites work with a fairly high margin - 40-45%, so there is a lot of money left there," he said.
Such restrictions are very attractive to illegal gambling operators. According to Mamulaishvili, about 720 illegal sites are trying to enter the Georgian market, and this repels large operators who intend to work in the country absolutely legally.
“Foreign investors, who see that the government is tightening regulation every year, are losing interest in our market. Previously, 135 legal operators operated in Georgia, now there are 86. I can’t say that the government is not interested in solving this problem, but everything should be done in a comprehensive manner,” summed up the head of the Georgian Gambling Association.