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Gambling Business in Georgia Reminds of Wet Market

Gambling business is one of the most profitable sectors, but it also comprises serious threats for ordinary citizens.

Specialists assert that gambling business is growing at high paces in Georgia. In pursue of technological progress, this sector penetrates new and new social circles and various geographical locations.

Several years ago, gamer had to physically visit gambling venues, while, today, personal computers with the internet suffice to sink into the online gambling world, without much effort and without leaving home.

Several days ago Minister of Finance Mamuka Bakhtadze also commented on this issue. I hope the gambling business sector in Georgia will be developed and it will attract gamers from other countries, the Minister of Finance noted for the 360 Degree TV program of PalitraNews TV company.

The Minister also overviewed the bill submitted to the Parliament. The package of reforms perfectly responds to all challenges, Bakhtadze noted.

«I hope this sector will be developed to the level, when gamers will arrive in Georgia from other countries. We want the reform to civilize this business sector, where human rights will be protected and underage persons will be kept away from this sector. Our objective is that people not lose the amount of money that they are not able to pay. At the same time, we should understand that this sector makes serious contribution to the state budget and this package of reforms valuably responds to the challenges for human rights protection, on the one hand, and making this sector more transparent, on the other hand.

By the end of 2018 we will introduce a new component to collect information on the sector turnover, Bakhtadze said.

It is easy to make the gambling business more transparent by use of international experience, Andria Gvidiani, analyst for Association of Young Financiers and Businessmen (AYFB) noted. Today, gambling business in Georgia reminds of wet market, Gvidiani said.

The gambling business turnover grows year to year; however, fiscal effect has not increased. The online gambling space grows along with expansion of the internet coverage zone, Gvidiani added.

«Thus, it is relevant to set certain frames, introduce certain regulations. There are many directions, which should be regulated. First of all, age limit, identification. There are many unregulated directions that comprise many risks», Gvidiani pointed out.

Involvement in the online space without personal identification contains money laundering risks, drug trade and so on. Therefore, it is important to eradicate these problems and the legislative body should introduce regulations approbated on international level, he said.

The gambling business should be divided in two parts: online space and real sector, Gvidiani pointed out.

«The statistics shows that online sector development narrows the ratio of real gambling venues proportionally. This is unjustified in terms of fiscal and infrastructural and tourism aspects.

Real gambling business development will bring more benefits to the country, as compared to online sector, because the latter is free of special taxation regimes and they are taxed as ordinary LLCs, while real gambling business is subjected to strict fiscal pressure and consequently, it is more beneficial for the Government», Gvidiani noted.

Development of real gambling houses will also develop tourism sector, he added. «Developed gambling business in this or that country ensures comfortable environment for tourists. Therefore, we should not think the sector is developed for Turkey or Azerbaijan. In general, along with tourism sector development, the more services are developed in the country, the more benefits the country will receive», Gvidiani said.

The current developments show that in trying to tackle global and local problems, Government of Georgia makes focus on deepening economic and partnership relations with other countries, taking credits and grants, on cooperation with international organizations and foreign experts, takes into account the role of tourists and tourism sector development outcomes, because its scales are impressive.

Government has taken worthy steps for the gambling sector development. Initiatives for the sector transparency, human rights protection, restriction of underage engagement, prevention of insolvency will foster a formation of the civilized business sector, doctor of economics Rati Abuladze noted.

Amid the current social and economic problems Government’s attempts to count on gambling business development will not bring either political or social effect. It should be taken into account that:

Ethical aspects should be also taken into account when inviting gamers from other countries;

By developing the gambling business and by drawing gamers from other countries, the country acquired the function of a hub of gambling gamers rather than the reputation of a strategic and strong country in the region.

Finally, if the political and governing chain had made the same accents on its own society (science, experts) and employment of the country resources, social-economic problems would be resolved.

Tourism business expert Shalva Khutsishvili noted that it is very attractive that Georgia offer modern, refined and international standard gambling business services to citizens of  the countries, including our neighboring countries, where similar games are restricted.

Entrance of international brand casinos will make effect on economic situation of the country, because revenues will multiply more, Khutsishvili noted.

 «As to another factor, control over this business and government interference may bring undesirable outcomes. Consequently, specific business bodies may hide or distort certain information», Khutsishvili said.