The Minister of Finance of Georgia, Dimitri Kumsishvili, upon commenting the issue of regulating gambling business, stated

the following: “Tax administration is of paramount importance. In this regard, as a result of strict tax administration in the past years, we managed to increase income from gambling business by 400%. Incomes from gambling business now exceeds GEL 100 million.


took interest in the accuracy of the statement.

Gambling business in Georgia is taxed in a specific manner. In addition to taxes prescribed in the Tax Code of Georgia, Article 5 of the Law of Georgia on Gambling Business Fee imposes the cap of the fee, and within its margin, the local self-government independently defines the amount of the fee which is subject to payment in the local budget. In the past years, municipal councils of the self-government units have periodically been increasing the aforementioned fee, within the allowed margin. The ceiling of that fee has been increased significantly after the amendments were enacted in the Law

of Georgia on Gambling Business Fee on 16 December 2016. The amount of money collected as fees on gambling business is given in the Table 1.

Table 1: 

Trend of Changes of Fees On Gambling Business in 2010-2017

- 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2016 6 mths 2017 6 mths
Taxation of Gambling Business (GEL Million 52.6 53.4 53.8 55.3 64.9 69.0 73.3 35.9 63.5
Changes (%) - 1.6% 0.7% 2.9% 17.3% 6.2% 6.3% - 76.9%
Source: State Treasury  

As illustrated by the table, the amount of incomes collected as fees has been increasing constantly in the previous years as well. However, after the changes in regard to the amount of fees has entered into force (1 January 2017), that figure increased significantly and  the growth in of the first two quarters of 2017 constituted 76.9%  as compared to the same period of the previous year.

At the same time, according to Point 10 of Article 7 of the Law on Georgia on License and Permit Fees for Gambling Business, there is one-time permit fee for the gambling business. Those fees have not been changed substantially for the past few years. Table 2 depicts the information provided by the  Revenue Service of the Ministry of Finance about the payments made by gambling business as one-time permit fees.

Table 2:

Amount of One-time Permit Fees in 2011-2017 (GEL Million)

- 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2016 6 mths 2017 6 mths
Permit fees to organize casino, gamin machines salon, betting house, lottery, bingo and promotional drawing games 27.2 48.3 49.7 56.4 47.0 50.3 15.1 18.9
Source: Revenue Service  

According to the Tax Code of Georgia, major part of the gambling business is exempt from national taxes. However, taking into account that some gambling is organized in system-electronic form, which is not exempt from taxes, it is more appropriate to analyze total tax payments (Table 3) for taxes prescribed by the Tax Code of Georgia in order to have a comprehensive analysis of incomes received from gambling business.

Table 3:

 Changes in Total Amount of Taxes in 2011-2017

 - 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2016 6 mths 2017 6 mths
Total amount of taxes (GEL Million) 20.7 31.2 42.8 57.0 97.7 101.1 55.8 70.6
Source: Revenue Service  

At the same time, of importance note is that a taxpayer who owns the valid permit for gambling business can also have several other businesses simultaneously (including the ones not related to gambling business) and it is possible that figures given in the table cover transactions, which are not related to gambling business. According to the information of the Revenue Service, it is impossible to delineate taxes based on types of business activities alone.


The amount of gambling business fees has been growing periodically in the past years, whilst since 1 January 2017, ceiling on the fees on gambling business has increased significantly, which was duly reflected on the amount of taxes paid by the aforementioned sector in the budget. According to the data of the first two quarters of 2017, the growth constituted 76.9% as compared to the same period of the previous year. This in absolute figures is GEL 63.5 million and it is expected that the annual amount will exceed GEL 100 million.

At the same time, the aforementioned fee is just one form of taxes paid by the gambling business to the budget, whilst the total amount of taxes collected from gambling business has surpassed GEL 100 million threshold for many years already. Therefore, the Minister of Finance has presumably meant the amount of money paid separately in the budget as gambling business fees.

In regard to 400% increase in revenues, neither total tax payments nor its integral components have increased in that pace in the past years. Close to that figure is only the total annual changes in taxes from 2011 until 2016, although as stated by the Revenue Service, that number does not include the taxes paid only by the gambling business.

FactCheck concludes that Dimitri Kumsishvili’s statement is MOSTLY TRUE.


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