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New Amendments to Regulate Gambling Business

By Vladimer Napetvaridze
Monday, October 1
Soon the Georgian Parliament will start discussions about another initiative of regulating the gambling business, but at this time, it concerns advertising of this sector. According to the draft of amendments, advertisements of gambling are prohibited for television, radio, the Internet and other means of communication.

According to the initiative, advertising of gambling companies will be prohibited in religious, children's, educational, medical, cultural, and sports institutions, as well as in 200 meters radius from them. Also, it is forbidden to place an advertisement, which exceeds 10 sq.m. Spaces.

The authors of the project say that the preparation of the draft of amendments was caused by the difficult economic situation in the country and the risks associated with gambling. It is not yet clear when the project will be presented to the parliament.

Discussions about Gambling business regulations have started years ago, but real changes have not yet been introduced. Part of the experts believes that the issue is hindered because of the influence of this field on the state budget.

Georgia is one of the countries in the Caucasus region, with the most liberal gambling policy and this leads to the growth and development of the business. In 2014, when business was at the stage of development, according to the Transparency International research, the total income from the gambling sector in the state budget was 1,4%- approximately 105 million GEL.

Despite the fact that the gambling business can be beneficial for the state economy, it affecting the society. According to various scientific researches, gambling causes the same level of addiction as drugs or alcohol. Accordingly, the gambling-addicted citizen can be a threat to himself and society.

According to the statistics, 9 percent of the Georgian population gambles once a month and for 87% of them said it has resulted in financial problems.

Some Government officials claim that it is impossible to completely ban gambling business because it encourages the development of so-called gambling tourism. Since gambling is strictly regulated in Azerbaijan and Turkey, Georgia remains one of the best touristic destinations for Turkish and Azerbaijani gamblers.

The last draft of amendments on the gambling sector introduced to the Georgian Parliament to discuss in August hasn’t been adopted yet. According to this initiative, the unified registry had to be created, where gamblers would register, and any family member of these players would have had the right to appeal to the court to get a specific person out of the registry. Besides, all public servants before being employed in the public sector would have been obliged to enter the list of those who are banned from engaging in gambling and the restriction age would have been increased to 25.

Discussions about the regulation of gambling business have started a long time ago, but there is no actual meaningful reform made yet. The gambling business in Georgia is regulated by the law “On Organising Lotteries, Games of Chance and Other Prize Games”. After October 2012, when Georgia Dream came into the power there have been 8 amendments made in this law, but none of them were meaningful for gambling business.

-14/08/2015- Regulations about banning convicted person rights to start a gambling business.
- 08/12/2015- Regulation about defining the list of lottery council members.
- 17/06/2016- Regulations about lottery business.
- 17/05/2017- Regulation about banning the use of tobacco product for the gambling advertising.
- 07/12/2017-Regulation about defining the list of lottery council members.
- 23/12/2017- Regulations about arranging the spot, where gamblers can withdraw their wins.
- 05/07/2018- Regulation about defining the list of lottery council members.