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Following through on his pledge  for a stricter regulation of online gambling in the country, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili, has introduced draft legislation relating to the sector.

Written by Lasha Khutsishvili, Minister of Finance, the legislation was introduced at the latest Executive Government Meeting earlier this week, with the goal of safeguarding Georgia’s citizens and economy.

Under the new measures, a number of groups will be prevented from participating in online gambling – which the PM stated could block around one million people from online wagering – along with the introduction of a mandatory 25+ age limit.

Prohibited groups include those classified as vulnerable who receive state allowances, civil servants, individuals who have requested self-limitation from the Inland Revenue Service of Georgia and those included on the ‘Black List’ by Court Rulings or at the request of family members.

Perhaps one of the most significant and potentially damaging to the gambling industry in Georgia is a significant increase on taxation on the online market, with the PM stating that the ‘overall tax base of the sector’ will rise by between 65% and 70%.

Lastly, the new legislation will also bring in new conditions for advertising. Should the Bill pass through the Georgian legislature, all televised, outdoor and web-based marketing of gambling will be prohibited throughout the Caucasian nation, although sponsorship arrangements will continue to be permitted, although this may be restricted to sports.

In an address made last week, Garibashvili outlined plans for new restrictions against the Georgian online gambling industry, setting the task of drafting the relevant legislation to the aforementioned Khutsishvili.

The first phase of the reform – the development of a bill targeting advertising, increasing taxation and introduction of a 25+ age limit – will be followed by measures to ‘prohibit online casino operations’, according to the PM’s initial plans.

“As promised, we are actively working and the Minister of Health will be proposing regulations for the pharmaceutical market,” Garibashvili stated this week.

“Legislative initiative will be submitted to the Parliament of Georgia as a draft law. This is our desire and we are committed to intensively work with the legislature on this topic of course.”