Vadim Potapenko, head of sales for Slotegrator.

One of the key changes of the newly adopted Georgian gambling regulations is the requirement for software providers to maintain a legal presence in the country, said Vadim Potapenko, head of sales for Slotegrator.

Writing for CasinoBeats, he explains why the online casino software provider and aggregator was “quick to conform” to such a requirement, as well as summarising the other most important changes of the regulations coming into force in 2021.

A series of amendments passed by Georgian regulators in June 2020 are now coming into effect. Aside from an updated schedule of fees and payments, one of the most prominent changes is the requirement that software providers, like online casino operators, must have a legal presence in the country — a requirement that leading software supplier and aggregator Slotegrator was quickly able to satisfy. 

With comparatively light regulations and low taxes for gambling operators, the Georgian gambling industry has largely centred on players visiting from countries where gambling was heavily restricted or illegal. The last year, while undoubtedly troubling for economies everywhere, has given a big boost to the online gambling sector — and growing demand often leads to increased regulation.

The growing prominence of the online sector is putting more focus on the local customer. The online sector in Georgia is tightly tied to land-based enterprises — licensed land-based operators can offer online gambling services without having to obtain a separate licence. Offshore operators can’t legally offer their service to Georgians, which prevents foreign companies from swarming the market with competition.

Amendment package No.07-2/486/9

Back in June 2020, the Georgian government passed a series of amendments to the Gambling Act, the law on licensing and permits, the law on gambling business fees, the law on licenses and permit fees, and the administrative code of Georgia. Starting from January 2021, these measures will gradually come into force.

The first change that will affect the entire industry is that now, not only operators, but also solution providers for the gambling industry will have to be incorporated within the country. These companies will have to comply with regulations and rules and receive a permit to work in the country.

This means that to build a business in Georgia, a foreign operator would not only need help to open a legal entity in the country, but also work with a provider that has already gone through a similar process and can legally offer igaming services.

While other providers may have encountered difficulties, Slotegrator, having already established a presence in the region, was quick to conform to the decision. 

In Georgia, Slotegrator legally provides integration of slots and live dealer games from the world’s top developers, as well as offering legal and administrative assistance to operators looking to obtain a license, a permit, or certification.

Electronic Control System

The amendments also outline the electronic control system that will be implemented by regulatory bodies. It will serve to guarantee suppliers’ and operators’ compliance. While the legal framework for the system already exists in the amendments, the system itself has not been implemented yet.

Selected Person

It will now be required to receive an authorisation certificate from the selected person to operate legally. The selected person is a company that performs software inspections and makes sure the inner workings of the platform comply with the standards set by law. 

The selected person is entitled to charge fees for its services, which both operators and suppliers will be obliged to pay, but the amounts are not arbitrary — while the selected person sets the fee to be paid, it must fall within government-mandated limits.

The Georgian revenue service will also require a copy of the agreement between the Selected Person and the operator and will expect to be notified of any change to said agreement within two days. These requirements are formulated in the amendments to Gambling Law and article 24/1.3 and the changes will come into force to their full extent by March 2021.

The changes mean that aggregators and solution providers are part of the same regulatory framework as online casino operators. 

In response to the news, Slotegrator expressed readiness to adapt to the new measures while continuing to offer APIgrator, an API solution for the integration of games for online casinos, in Georgia. This allows an operator to make sure they are working with a technical partner that is certified and transparent, and offers products that will pass Georgian software inspection and certification process.

Updated fees

One of the most important pieces of information for operators is that the amendments include an updated fee structure. Gambling activities in Georgia are subject to annual and quarterly fees. While the annual fee is fixed and must be paid regularly in equal instalments, the quarterly cost depends on a form of gambling and the region where a casino is located.

To read Slotegrator’s full article about the updated Georgian legal landscape, click HERE.