25 Aug, 2021
A regulated industry helps protect players
When a person is forbidden to do anything, he wants it more. If the law does not regulate gambling, criminals will be happy to offer their services to people. Whether gambling is banned or not, people will still find a way to gamble. However in such a case it can no longer contribute to the economy and it cannot be maintained as a regulated and secure business. With the ban, people will move underground and they will fall into the hands of criminals - this is where the real dangers arise.
In the case of a regulated online gaming market, players are protected. It is easy to find a licensed casino and play it safe with the knowledge that you will not be cashed in by force or violence. When the field is regulated, this allows reliable and secure casinos to exist. In the case of the legal industry, competition forces large market players to be law-abiding, reliable, and create a safe environment for gambling.
Countries can benefit from casino fees
The revenue you can earn by taxing casinos is huge! This in itself makes gambling legalization attractive. The economies of many countries benefit significantly from casinos that pay a tax on their total gambling revenue (GGR). Each country's gambling taxes and GGR system are different, but it is always a net profit percentage.
In France the GGR is 83.5 per cent, the gambling mecca in Macau is much lower at 39% and in the UK the figure is 50 per cent of total revenue. Setting tax rates for the government is difficult because on the one hand, they do not want to stop new business and on the other hand they want to make a profit. Russia, for example, does not tax casinos at all.
Just like the tax that the economy enjoys, job creation is no less attractive to every state. In 2018, for example, 166,741 people were employed in the gaming industry in Nevada. This number is more than 16,000 in Georgia.
Casinos help tourism
People all over the world travel every year just to play. An additional factor in the development of this sector in Georgia is the policy of neighboring countries: casinos are banned in Turkey and Iran. There are many legal and illegal restrictions in Russia and Azerbaijan, which lead to the influx of tourists from these regions, whose incentives, in addition to travel to Georgia, are also gambling. When foreign tourists come to play in the country, they pay for food, transportation, accommodation and shops: that is, many sectors of the economy are booming. Play destinations attract all kinds of people, starting with families looking for a holiday, ending with parties and weddings. The growth of casino tourism in places like Cambodia, Singapore and the Philippines is really contributing to the development of the industry, not to mention playing games on cruise ships. Where casinos do not have a restaurant, tourists go to local restaurants and shops, which greatly benefits the surrounding business.
The main challenge - attitude
Every coin has two sides - gambling is no exception. The problem of addiction is a rather real issue that sadly worries millions of people. Will this attitude disappear if we ban gambling? This is unlikely.
We can only fight addiction through a regulated market. Allocate money from the budget to people who need help. Where something is illegal, it often becomes marginalized in society and consequently people who become addicted to gambling feel excluded from society and unable to get the help they need.
In Delaware, for example, the state provides free counseling to anyone who is experiencing difficulties. This service is funded by the state, with the millions of dollars that the gambling business pays to the budget.
In New Jersey, troubled players and their interested relatives can use the free text service. 24 hours a day, 7 hour service, offers support and advice. This service has had a positive impact on reducing drug-related suicides. There are also various support systems outside of casinos to help, we only accept similar services in the legal industry.
With all this in mind, Georgia should maintain a liberal policy in this area, as the gambling business is closely linked to the development of tourism, and tourism is one of the most important sectors of the Georgian economy.
Banning is not the solution, because banning the gambling business will not disappear, it will just go underground, which will not only solve the problems, but complicate them even more (we can recall the experience of our own country and the example of the 90s). Also, in the digital age it is very difficult to ban gambling as there are lots of foreign sites and apps where people can freely engage in gambling. The state will not be able to control this and consequently the country's economy will be harmed again, because a large amount of national currency will be drained, which may lead to the depreciation of the lari.
After 2005, when business was regulated, it was subject to strict legislative frameworks and full control by the state, employing people, filling the budget with taxes and permits. In total, more than 7% of the country's total budget comes from gambling businesses. And the income of companies associated with the gambling business (such as advertising companies, financial institutions, etc.) totals up to 16%.
However, it is necessary for the state to do more to study the potential social risks posed by gambling. It is difficult to say whether there are in fact serious negative external effects of gambling in Georgia. Therefore, it would be unwise to impose any additional restrictions on this business.