Garibashvili announced the taxes as part of a package of measures included in the country’s 2024 draft budget.
The government has now sent the proposals to Georgia’s parliament, where they will face further scrutiny.
Garibashvili highlighted the growth in the gambling sector’s total turnover in Georgia, which rose from €16.45bn to €17.82bn in 2021/2022.
This compares to Georgia’s €22.88bn GDP that year, demonstrating the relative importance of the sector to the country’s economy.
Describing the gambling growth as “catastrophic”, the prime minister said it was “very sad that the turnover of the gambling business is increasing.”
He added: “I am really not happy – too many citizens are still involved in gambling.”The prime minister argued that advertising and age restrictions imposed since 2021 have failed to reduce gambling participation.
“Despite [the new restrictions], we still see that quite a few citizens are involved,” he said. “Accordingly, we have made a decision to increase taxes on the business.”
Garibashvili said the new gambling taxes will raise €137.1m in additional revenue, which will fund revenue increases in a number of departmental budgets.
“I believe in 2024 we will have a strong, sound budget that will adequately respond to the challenges we face,” he added.
Latest shake-up to Georgia gambling law
The tax increases are just the latest proposals to address safer gambling fears that have come to the fore following the rise of the country’s land-based gaming sector.
In 2021, the government passed a package of reforms to address the issue. These included a ban on gambling for under-25s, a prohibition on TV advertising and the initial imposition of the gaming taxes.
In February 2023, the government approved another set of legislative changes.
Under the new rules, land-based entities would have the option of tethered online licences. Meanwhile, online-only licences were subject to a new €1.6m fee.