As per the official statistical data, 700, 000 Georgians are involved in gambling, with 5.6 billion GEL flowing into it annually. This year, the Parliament introduced changes to the law that should have stiffened gambling advertising policy.
Recently, results of the survey supported by the Tbilisi City Hall have been publicized: 500 students aged 14-18 were polled, with 28% of 14-year-old adolescents being involved in gambling and 52% of 15 year olds in online games. Polls showed that a total of 14-18 year olds are gamblers.
Online adverstisements amounting to 75% of total business advertisements of this segment are the mostly applied tools to increase popularity of gambling business. 47% of respondents deem billboards to be information sources, with 54% considering that information sources are SMS messages. TV commercials amount to 37%. In addition, casinos are frequently opened in historic and cultural institutions.
Head of the Beer Mania and Gambling Prevention Center Guga Beselia told Report.ge that a teenager is banned from gambling in accordance with the law. However, adolescents still manage to gamble in real life situations. Beselia states that this happens due to absence of control over online games.
According to him, restrictions must be imposed on aggressive PR marketing of this business, and online accounts must be strictly controlled. As per him, these measures can protect young generations and can also put an end to money laundering.
It is noteworthy that gambling business operates in Georgia and Armenia, whereas in Russia it is strictly controlled and in Azerbaijan and Turkey it is forbidden. Considering that a rather large proportion of people visit Georgia for gambling purposes, some experts deem this business to be the source of income.
Report.ge tried to learn what is the felicitous middle between maintaining the source of income and protecting future generations.
“Casinos at the border are more or less admissible, since they attract financial resources; however, the issue of online casinos is much more serious. Foreigners don’t come here to play online casino games; they visit real casinos. 5.56 billion GEL is flowing into online gambling industry, with this money being taken out of Georgian people’s pockets,” declared Beselia.