SBC Summit Tbilisi: Georgia and its Emerging Gambling Industry

The Georgian gambling industry has recently faced significant changes, mainly due to the introduction of additional regulations. There is no doubt that regulations play an important role in shaping the gaming business, but it is important to make smart decisions to avoid the arising of new problems.

Despite these problems, the Georgian gambling market continues to develop and grow rapidly. There is a change in player behavior and the formation of a gaming culture, which indicates the dynamic nature of the industry.

This dynamic growth has created the potential for international expansion of the Georgian market thanks to flexible tax laws that have attracted many foreign companies, especially gaming service providers. In addition, well-known operators such as Entain, Flutter and Betsson Group are already actively present in the Georgian market.

The presence of illegal operators remains a serious problem, and its solution requires joint efforts on the part of operators and the government. It is important to promote the development of local operators and implement effective prevention measures to prevent players from turning to illegal operators, thus ensuring a fair and regulated gaming environment.

While legislative changes are being made around the world to combat illegal activities, promoting legal operators is proving to be the most effective method. Bringing the expertise of business professionals into discussions and decision-making processes is critical to creating an enabling legal framework that supports the industry.

Changes to the legal framework regulating the gaming industry in Georgia from June 2024 will be significant. In particular, three types of licenses for online casinos will be introduced: online casinos, online slot machines and online betting. Previously, there were only two types of licenses for online casinos and online betting. In addition, online operators will now be required to pay a quarterly fee of 250,000 lari in addition to the license fee.

According to the new rules, companies will be able to open one of three types of physical facilities: a casino, a slot machine parlor or a betting shop, for which they will have to pay a license fee of GEL 100,000. However, if online operators decide to abandon the physical facility, they will be required to pay higher license fees: GEL 1 million for online slot machines, GEL 1 million for online betting and GEL 5 million for online casinos.

The introduction of licensing was an important step, but the approach may need to be reconsidered. Online operators focused on the online space may consider the price of an online casino license to be unnecessarily high. Additionally, dividing licenses into three categories may seem unreasonable given the volatile nature of the gaming industry. Constantly updating and adapting the legal framework can be key to ensuring balanced and effective regulation.

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