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Gambling business protests

By Messenger staff
Thursday, November 27
While battling with decreasing income by lowering other taxes, the Georgian Government now plans to increase taxes on the gambling business. The latter however protests, claiming that this would result in the closing down of many outlets, leaving thousands of people jobless.

According to the Finance Ministry legislative initiative submitted to Parliament, annual licensing fees for gambling outlets will increase from GEL 8,000 to GEL 40,000. The cost of licenses for totalizators will increase from GEL 12,000 to GEL 60,000. So far each gambling machine has been taxed at GEL 600 every quarter. The new initiative proposes GEL 1,000 per month.

Gambling business representatives think that high taxes would damage the business, and the resultant closures would leave more than 12,000 people unemployed. Economic analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili suggests that increased gambling taxes are not viewed negatively in society. This business has regular customers anyway. The danger of the tax as he sees it is that some of the more influential gambling business owners will want to get rid of their competitors and monopolize the business.