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Georgian Government raises gambling taxes upon report finding claiming participation increase at catastrophic levels

Georgia’s prime minister Irakli Gharibashvili said gambling turnover reached a “catastrophic figure” in 2022.

The government of Georgia has announced an increase in the tax rates on gambling after growth in the sector’s turnover last year. The tax rate on gambling profits will rise from 10 to 15 per cent. Meanwhile, a tax on player withdrawals will be raised from 2 to 5 per cent and  raised the minimum age for gambling to 25.

Presenting the country’s budget, prime minister Irakli Gharibashvili expressed surprise at an increase in turnover in the gambling sector in 2022, from GEL 48bn to GEL 52bn (€17.9bn). Describing the figure as “catastrophic”, he noted that there had been a rise in gambling despite a ban on advertising. .

“These amendments to rates will raise an additional GEL400m per annum, Gharibashvili said.

 “I want to express surprise on the one hand; on the other hand, it is very sad that the turnover of the gaming business is increasing. I am really not happy. Too many citizens are still involved in gaming.

“As you know, we made important changes last year when we banned advertising and restricted citizens’ participation in gambling to those over the age of 25. Automatically. 1.5 million citizens have been restricted from participating in gambling. Despite this, we see that a lot of citizens are involved. Accordingly, we have made a decision to increase taxes on this business.”

Under the new rules the country’s 10 land-based casino businesses that include the three largest entities Adjara Group, Crystalbet and Iveria,  would be permitted to hold an online casino licence.

Similarly, the offering of online slots would be limited to retail slots parlours – as well as sports betting to physical bookmakers.

While additional online-only licences are now available, the government is requesting a fee of €1.6m per licence holder per year.