Deputy finance minister, gambling industry representatives discuss business-related conditions for Georgia’s EU candidacy

Deputy finance minister, gambling industry representatives discuss business-related conditions for Georgia’s EU candidacy

Georgian deputy finance minister Mikheil Dundua on Monday met with representatives of the country’s gambling business to discuss the sections related to the industry in the European Union's 12-point conditions for granting the country the membership candidate status, the ministry of finance said. 

The discussion involved a review of articles in the 2014 EU-Georgia association agreement on strengthening supervision on the gambling business in accordance with regulations of the financial action task force, an intergovermnetal organisation combating money laundering and funding of terrorism. 

Member states of the Council of Europe's committee of experts on the evaluation of anti-money laundering measures and the financing of terrorism (Moneyval), Georgia among them, are obliged to license online and other gambling, including those onboard ships”, the state body noted. 

The ministry stressed that according to the fifth round report of Moneyval, it was responsible to define anti-money laundering policy, strengthen supervision on the gambling industry and promote the formation of the appropriate legislative base.

Georgian prime minister Irakli Garibashvili said in March that the introduction of the ban on gambling advertising in Georgia would deal with “one of the biggest problems” of the country’s population. Photo: government of Georgia press office. 

Considering its own competences, the ministry of finance is actively participating in the developing of the national plan against money laundering and terrorism financing, and is closely cooperating with relevant state agencies”, the ministry added.

Along with Moneyval recommendations, the parties also discussed further refinement of restrictions on access to foreign online gambling resources. 

Georgian prime minister Irakli Garibashvili initiated last year to increase fees for online gambling businesses – which were mostly foreign owned – as well as to ban ads, and increase the lower age limit for gamblers to 25 years. 

The prime minister had suggested that about ₾1.5 billion ($527 million) “flows out of the country annually” due to online casinos.