03 Dec, 2021
Today, the Gaming Business Association (GGA), which unites the largest licensed online gaming business companies in Georgia, held a press conference. The association responded to the changes announced by the Prime Minister and stated that the content and form of the statement made by Irakli Gharibashvili is categorically unacceptable.
On November 22, the Prime Minister spoke about setting a number of restrictions for online casinos, which include increasing taxes, banning advertisements, and limiting the age and category of players.
According to Irakli Gharibashvili, a package of legislative changes is being prepared, according to which the taxable base will increase by 70%, participation in gambling games will be prohibited for Georgian citizens under the age of 25, socially vulnerable persons, civil servants and persons who apply to the Revenue Service for self-limitation. Also those citizens who, at the request of their family members, will be blacklisted by the court. According to the draft law, all kinds of television advertising, outdoor advertising and placement of advertisements on Georgian websites will also be prohibited.
George Mamulaishvili, the head of the administration of the Gaming Business Association, voiced the sector's position today and noted that no consultations were held with the business before the announcement. According to him, the expected changes will lead to cancellation of sponsorship agreements, disconnection of sports products and reduction of investments, which will create problems for other accompanying businesses, such as advertising, banking and IT businesses.
Association representatives also note more than 11,000 people employed in gaming business, whose average salary is more than 2,500 GEL, while the average salary in other businesses is 1,500 GEL. According to the business, it is necessary to consider the impact of the expected disruptive changes on the citizens employed in the field, as well as on other related businesses that work together with the gaming business.
"The most painful thing is that we will be talking about cost optimization, since it will be very difficult for the business to withstand the pressure it is experiencing due to the changes," said George Mamulaishvili.
According to him, in the light of the mentioned decisions, the gaming business will be forced to refuse sponsorship and other agreements, because they will no longer be attractive to the field.
Mamulaishvili also noted that the expected changes are a direct violation of the agreements signed by the state with Great Britain and Sweden.