PokerStars has notified players and media partners in Georgia, that it will terminate its online gambling services for the CIS nation on 1 March 2022.
The flagship poker subsidiary of Flutter Entertainment, PokerStars has contacted Georgian players informing them to withdraw all account balances by the end of February.
In its closing statement, PokerStars outlined that it would honour “customer bonuses and tournament ticket repayments” for Georgian players closing accounts.
Though not stipulated, PokerStars decision to exit Georgia’s regulated igaming marketplace comes ahead of soon to be implemented government reforms that will drastically alter business conditions.
Closing 2021, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili approved a draft order by the Ministry of Finance to impose a 65-to-70% tax base on online gambling services and a further demand that a + 25 age restriction be applied across all online gambling activities.
PM Garibashvili approved the overhaul measures as a ‘civic and economic protection’ as the Ministry of Finance had previously reported that “1.5 billion Georgian Lari (€460m) had been exported out of the country” due to online gambling.
Georgian licensed operators have been informed that phase-1 of reforms (tax and age requirements) will be implemented by Spring 2022.
First stage reforms will be followed by an overhaul of Georgia’s advertising laws, with a view on imposing a blanket ban gambling advertising being displayed on TV, Radio and Digital formats.
Licensed incumbents are preparing for radical adjustment of Georgia’s marketplace which to date has been governed by the mandate of the 2011 Law of Georgia on Lotteries and Games of Chances.