How to Receive a Licence in Georgia

The country is one of the best parts of the world to run casinos. This niche is completely legal, closely connected to the tourism market, and is considered an important source of treasury reimbursement.

Casino licences in Georgia

Today, we will talk about the acquisition of a local licence, its cost, and legislative changes that were introduced this year. Online Casino Market has gathered comprehensive information on the current state of the industry, as well as its features and benefits.

General Description of the Market

Casino licensing has been a legal economic instrument controlled by the government for 15 years.

Political reforms of 2004 contributed to the development of the local market. The country was not only able to completely defeat corruption but also reduce crime as much as possible, being ranked in the Gallup World rating (the third place) of the safest parts of the world.

The comprehensive regulation of the market began in 2005 with the adoption of the laws on the organisation of lotteries, casino games, and licences.

The Georgian licence is granted by the Revenue Service. The institution not only certifies casinos but also forms a favourable tax policy for the development of the niche. Moreover, the same business environment is created for both local businessmen and foreign investors.

This approach has given excellent results. By 2017, the total turnover of the industry exceeded 2.2 billion dollars, which is almost 614 million more than the profit of all local stores.

The following factors contribute to the growth of the local casino market:

  1. Tourism sector. Georgia is famous for its good climate, high level of security, and excellent infrastructure. In 2012 alone, Georgia was visited by more than 4 million people.
  2. Stable increase in gamblers. The licence allows operators to attract constant traffic from those countries where casino games are strictly prohibited. Local gambling halls are regularly visited by tourists from Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan.
  3. Transparent market structure. According to the Forbes ranking, the country takes fourth place in terms of tax loyalty. Moreover, the gambling market is rather extensive: 242 companies were granted a casino licence.
  4. Lack of bureaucracy. The Georgian permit can be obtained within 24 hours. Moreover, the personal attendance of an applicant is not necessary ― it is enough to collect a package of documents, pay the registration fee, and file an online application.
  5. Any kind of activity. All types of gambling commerce are allowed on the country’s territory ― from offline slot machines and bookmaker’s offices to online sweepstakes, digital lotteries, and online casinos.

How to Obtain a Georgian Licence

Georgian licence: how to obtain

One of the main advantages of working in the country is that you can obtain a permit in just one day without the red tape.

The legalisation procedure is quite simple, and you can pass it in the electronic format ― it is enough to register in the unified database on the website of the Tax Service and fill out an online form. All necessary documentation can also be provided online (you can just send scans).

Each type of gambling requires a separate permit, for which you need to prepare a package of documents. General requirements for the applicants include:

  • compulsory registration of the brand on the territory of the country (the founder may not be a resident);
  • availability of certificates of no criminal record of the owner and the board of directors;
  • a comprehensive list of entertainment with a detailed description of the rules of each game;
  • availability of a receipt that confirms the payment of a registration fee.

To establish a land-based business, it is also necessary to provide layouts of tokens, cards, lottery tickets, and other components that will be used to play casino games.

Turnaround Time and the Validity Period of the Permit

On the legislative level, it is stated that an application for the acquisition of a licence is filed for free and is considered within 20 days.

If operators need to obtain a permit for launching a gaming site, sweepstakes, a bookmaker's office or a gambling hall with slot machines before the given period, they will be able to speed up the process by paying:

  • 400 lari (about 365 dollars) ― for the consideration of an application within 10 days;
  • 800 lari (330 dollars) ― for processing the request within 5 days;
  • 2000 lari (approximately 850 dollars) ― the acquisition of a permit in 24 hours.

The licence is valid for 5 years and is issued for all types of gambling activities, except for the lottery. Organisers of this type of entertainment receive another permit, which must be renewed every 12 months.

How Much Does a Georgian Licence Cost?

Operators should pay a mandatory annual maintenance fee. Its size differs significantly depending on the location of the establishment:

  • to open a turnkey casino with a Georgian licence in Tbilisi, businessmen will have to pay 5 million lari (about 1.8 million dollars) to the public treasury;
  • the launch of a platform in Batumi, Borjomi or Kobuleti will cost 250 thousand lari (about 91 thousand dollars);
  • the establishment of a land-based location in Akhaltsikhe will cost 100 thousand lari (approximately 36 thousand dollars);
  • those operators who work in major tourist centres of the country (for example, in Khelvachauri, Anaklia, Bakuriani) are exempted from the annual duty but must build a hotel complex in the region with a key count of 80 beds or more.

The size of duty depends on the type of business:

  • from 100 thousand to 5 million lari for land-based casinos;
  • from 50 thousand to 1 million lari for gambling halls with slots;
  • from 10 to 50 thousand lari for locations with board games;
  • from 30 to 300 thousand lari for betting shops;
  • 15 thousand lari for bingo, lotto, and lotteries.

Mandatory quarterly tax rates that are set in the law on the levies for casino projects

15–30 thousand lari

Tax on each gaming table in the land-based casino (including roulette)

1,500–3 thousand lari

Duties on each type of hardware equipment

10% of the prize fund

Mandatory commission fee from each promotional lottery drawing

30–60 thousand lari

Tax on the organisation of games for money in a system-electronic format

Up to 20% of the revenue

A regulated tax must be paid by the organisers of lottery drawings. The size of this duty is calculated from the amount of net profit from the sold tickets

1–15 thousand lari

Quarterly tax on cash register equipment and electronic games outside the territory of a land-based object

3–10 thousand lari

Duty on each gaming table installed in clubs with board games

There is an additional tax table for the representatives of an iGaming sector:

  • 20% ― personal income tax (salaries of full-time employees);
  • up to 1% ― a tax levied on the property owned within the country;
  • 15% ― corporate income tax;
  • 20% ― liability tax (it must be paid by the organisers of tournaments).

Features of the Local Online Industry

Georgian online gambling industry: features

All types of gambling entertainment are allowed in the country, including digital commerce. But licensed online casinos in Georgia can only be launched by those operators who already own an offline location (casinos, bookmaker's offices, sweepstakes, etc.).

Gamblers are offered several types of online entertainment:

  • casinos;
  • sports betting;
  • lottery.

According to reports of the regulator, the online sector is growing rapidly. Even despite the 2020 pandemic, the annual turnover of the digital market exceeded 38 billion lari.

Only operators with a local licence can enter the market. Offshore permits are prohibited by law.

How much does the Georgian online casino licence cost? The average range of tax payments is from 30 to 60 thousand lari.

Legislative Amendments and Innovations of 2021

Due to the rapid growth of the digital market during the 2020 pandemic, the local government has introduced a number of provisions to tighten control over the online industry. For example, from 2021, authorised bodies will issue certificates to the companies responsible for the assessment of security and transparency of the niche.

New enterprises have the following tasks:

  • general control over the industry;
  • checking the quality of game mechanics;
  • conformity assessment of specifications of hardware devices, etc.

The country will introduce a unified control system to track the activities of operators. The project will be supervised by the Revenue Service.

Good news from July 16, 2021: the price of a casino licence in Tbilisi has been cut in half (to 638.6 thousand dollars). The resolution has already entered into force and will be valid until January 1, 2022.

The Main Things about Georgian Casino Licences

  • Local authorities have legalised all forms of the casino business, including sweepstakes, lotteries, and virtual platforms.
  • Local gambling is closely connected with the tourism sector. Casinos that operate in big resort areas are exempt from a number of tax duties and always have a steady increase in foreign customers from Russia, Turkey, and other states where gambling is prohibited.
  • An online casino with a local permit can be launched if an entrepreneur already owns a land-based establishment. It is not a very common but rather effective approach. In 2020, the turnover of the digital segment reached 38 billion lari.
  • The government has halved the cost of a licence in Tbilisi. The regulation came into force on July 5 and will be valid until January 1, 2022. At the same time, special conditions for those operators who are ready to build hotels in resort areas remain in effect.
To learn more about the licensing procedure and the nuances of establishing a casino business in resorts and big cities of Georgia, please contact the staff of Online Casino Market. Our team of specialists monitors all industry trends and is always aware of the most interesting innovations.

Thanks to many years of experience in local and international markets, we can offer a catalogue of the best gambling solutions:

Contact our representative already today and become the owner of a project of your dreams!

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Author

Karen Fill

Gambling business expert at Online Casino Market