The government of Georgia has detailed new prohibitions on online gambling along with the suspension of advertisement and a new tax regiment. This comes at the behest of the country’s prime minister, Irakli Gharibashvili, who urged lawmakers to act on gambling last week.
Gharibashvili has cited gambling-related harm as the reason why Georgia should seek to impose tighter control on the online casino industry. Another motivator is the fact that Georgia is losing tax money because of unchecked gaming operations, the argument runs.
A new bill has been drafted by the minister of finance, Lasha Khutsishvili, who envisages modifying taxes to better benefit the state’s tax office and society. Gross gaming revenue will be taxed at a rate of 10%, the legislation specifies.
Meanwhile, winnings will be subject to a 2% tax and be considered part of a consumer’s income. However, the new legislation paints a much darker outlook for the gambling industry, which would be hit by tax increases of around 65% and 70%, although no further details are avaialble at this point.
Imposing hefty taxation may not be entirely feasible, though, as operators are likely to go under the weight of the mulled rate.
Ads to Go Dark in Georgian Gambling
Georgia’s upcoming legislation predicts other changes as well. For one, lawmakers want to see less advertisement in public space. Gharibashvili, though, plans on removing it all, following a similar model as the ones introduced in Spain and Italy.
As a result, operators will have to suspend their advertisements and campaigns conducted via the Internet, television, or physical spaces. On the plus side, operators will still be able to sponsor companies and display their logos this way.
Gharibashvili also seeks to impose a ban on underage gambling, which in this case will be 25 years. In other words, anyone under that age would be prohibited from both retail and online gambling. Foreign nationals may still gamble, though, as the ban would not apply to them.
The minister is also thinking ahead, aware that the offshore gambling market may be revitalized as a result of the tougher restrictions. That is why the ministry would request from any licensed payment processors in the country to prohibit payments to gambling operators abroad.
More updates should be forthcoming. The country’s operators will most likely want to know more about how the government plans on raising taxes for gambling businesses and how that would prove a sustainable and long-term model.