Georgian Gambling Association’s stance on future of regulation in jurisdiction

Lea Hogg 1 month ago
Georgian Gambling Association’s stance on future of regulation in jurisdiction

In an interview with SiGMA News, George Mamulaishvili, the head of administration of the Georgian Gambling Association, shed light on the key regulations that Georgia has implemented to ensure the gaming industry operates fairly and transparently.

Discussing the future prospects of Georgia as a jurisdiction for iGaming operators, he expressed confidence in Georgia’s potential to emerge as a premium destination. He highlighted that Georgia has consistently led gambling business development in the region, as evidenced by figures from the Georgian Statistics Service. Significant investments are flowing into the sector, with global brands such as Betsson Group, Entain, and Flutter already operating in the country. Georgia’s geographical location adds an extra layer of attractiveness for offline players. Since the adoption of the first gambling law, the country has rapidly established its reputation as a reliable industry partner, which is naturally attractive to investors.

This reliability, coupled with the transparency and protection of the gambling industry, has positively impacted Georgia’s standing among other gambling jurisdictions. The success of the legislative model has even led other post-Soviet countries to emulate Georgia’s approach. Recently, Georgia advised colleagues from Africa – Botswana – on legislation.

Therefore it can be said that Georgia has a well-established track record in the gambling industry. Mamulaishvili explained that Georgia has implemented a robust regulatory framework to oversee the gambling sector. This includes the Gambling Law, Money Laundering Law, and the Law on Verification and Identification of Users. The latter has significantly reduced phishing operations in the country. The Tax Code is a pivotal document in this context, as it governs the industry and outlines tax obligations. Several regulatory bodies, including the Ministry of Finance, the Tax Service (Georgia Revenue Service), and the regulator, play integral roles in daily oversight.

Innovation and transparency

The Financial Monitoring Department ensures control over illegal money laundering, while the National Bank of Georgia monitors illegal money flows through banks. In adherence to Georgian legislation, all companies must undergo an annual financial and IT audit by one of the Big Four. Furthermore, certification of products used by operators, ranging from platforms to simple games, is mandated. Collectively, these measures contribute to creating a transparent and attractive business environment in the region. This comprehensive regulatory framework is a testament to Georgia’s commitment to ensuring fairness and transparency in its gaming industry.

Mamulaishvili discussed how the jurisdiction collaborates with other regulatory agencies to ensure effective regulation of the gambling industry. He revealed that collaboration occurs through the Association, where representatives from various countries and agencies convene to share their experiences. This enables Georgia’s regulatory bodies, including the Tax Service and the Ministry of Finance, to gain insights into global regulatory nuances.

The Association also consistently engages with other associations worldwide, conducting thorough analyses of both positive and negative aspects of laws and regulations. The knowledge gained from these exchanges is then disseminated to the regulatory and legislative bodies. When asked about the key challenges that Georgia faces in regulating the gaming industry and how it addresses them, he acknowledged that combating illegal operators is a significant challenge, not unique to Georgia. The country addresses this issue through effective cooperation between the business sector and the regulatory bodies. The Association collaborates closely with the Tax Service, providing information about potential illegal operators attempting to enter the market. Simultaneously, the Tax Service strives to restrict their access to payment systems.

He admitted that this is not a foolproof solution that guarantees the disappearance of illegal operators from the market, but it is a method of preventing their mass entry. He further noted that countries that have adopted more lenient gambling laws and allow the development of local operators are more favoured than those that have adopted strict gambling bans. He emphasized that the development of a legal operator is the best way to counter the influx of illegal operators.

This is because the development of the gambling business is not only the development of this particular industry, but also the development of related industries such as tourism, IT, payment systems, and others. This, in turn, leads to additional jobs and an increase in the economy as a whole. This comprehensive approach underscores Georgia’s commitment to creating a fair and transparent gaming industry.

Comprehensive approach

The head of administration of the Georgian Gambling Association further elaborated on the steps taken by the jurisdiction to protect players from problem gambling and other gambling-related risks. He highlighted the recently adopted Law on Verification and Identification of Users in Georgia, which has significantly minimized phishing operations, thereby safeguarding players from unauthorized access to their accounts. Each operator also has a player self-blocking system in place, empowering users to set their own limits. Furthermore, the state maintains a database where any citizen can apply for a six-month restriction on access to gambling. However, this restriction applies only to legal operators, underlining the importance of supporting legal operators as a crucial element for any state.

Discussing the jurisdiction’s support for innovation in the gaming industry and its role in shaping the future of the industry, he emphasized that innovation is paramount for businesses, especially in the rapidly evolving gambling industry.

It is crucial for operators, software suppliers, and payment systems to keep abreast of advances to ensure continuous development. Recognizing this, the state plays a key role in supporting innovation. In Georgia, for example, tax incentives for innovative technology companies have been introduced, making the country an attractive location for many companies. During this interview, the head of administration of the Georgian Gambling Association shared some exciting developments in the pipeline. Georgia is currently focusing on strategic initiatives to improve the gambling landscape.

The Association is actively refining their regulatory framework to adapt promptly to industry changes, ensuring that their regulations remain progressive and responsive to emerging challenges. International cooperation and partnerships are a priority for them. They engage with other jurisdictions, attend industry conferences, and maintain an ongoing dialogue with global stakeholders to keep abreast of best practices and emerging trends.

The Association’s commitment to responsible gambling is steadfast. They are developing initiatives to enhance player protection, including improvements to self-exclusion tools, educational campaigns, and working with industry stakeholders to address problem gambling. Their goal is to position Georgia as a global leader in the gambling industry, setting the standards for innovation, transparency, and responsible gambling practices. They are dedicated to fostering a thriving and sustainable gambling ecosystem. This commitment to continuous improvement and collaboration reflects Georgia’s dedication to maintaining a fair and transparent gaming industry.

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