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Parliament to address gambling

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, May 10
The Parliament of Georgia has established a working group composed of lawmakers and ministries’ representatives to address the country's gambling problem, which is especially prevalent amongst minors.

The group is now working on a draft that will make online gambling unavailable for the underage people and set criteria for placing commercials for gambling companies.

The Ministry of Finance says the regulations will protect both the interests of the people of Georgia and businesses.

“We must regulate the field so that young people aren’t engaged in gambling and businesses aren’t affected, and the money accumulated in the businesses won’t flow out from Georgia,” the Finance Ministry representative stated.

Gambling business representatives also acknowledged that the field needs to be regulated and they agree that underage people must not have access to online gambling.

The Crystal Bat leadership says they are ready to cooperate with the parliamentary group in the process of drafting the changes.

Setting new rules for gambling companies was one of the election promises of the Georgian Dream team, as NGOs, the Ombudsman and ordinary people were standing against the uncontrolled access to gambling that badly affects many lives.

Last year former Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli stated at a special briefing that major cases of suicide in the army were caused due to debts taken for gambling.

The Minister stated that due to preventive measures, the Ministry would make its policy especially strict.

“Any employee of the Defence Ministry, no matter whether he is a soldier or a civilian, will be dismissed from service if caught gambling with no chance of returning to work in the national defence field.

“There will be no second chance; he/she will be dismissed in the very first case,” Khidasheli declared.