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Friday, 21 October 2016


Casinos: Georgia to be freed from gambling addiction?

2010-09-29 13:41

8173.jpegGeorgia is likely to launch an anti-gambling campaign. The opposition points to a growing number in desperate people whose empty pockets drive them to green felt as their last resort. Still, only few of them hit the jackpot. Most frequenters of Sakartvelo's gambling parlors fall deeper into the abyss of debt. Presently, loud statements on economic growth from official Tbilisi are accompanied by the increase in crime and suicide rates since creditors are of no danger in the afterlife.


Levan Chitadze, Ara youth movement leader calls on Georgian parliament to adopt measures limiting free access to casinos for citizens of the country. He believes owners of gambling establishments must not allow people with average monthly income below 500 lari to the roulette, blackjack and other games of luck. The oppositionist also insists that those who want to catch the smile of Fortune prove availability of GEL 5000 on their bank account.

Ara movement leader is sure that these prohibitions will help to improve the pitiful situation connected with overall debt Georgian citizens owe to casinos and gambling clubs. One of the main reasons why the parliament must back the initiative is the rising larceny and robbery rates among debtors many of whom, the oppositionist says, resort to suicide in their attempt to avoid  obligations.

By the way, the oppositionist considers implementation of these ideas unlikely. He is sure that Georgian authorities will ignore the initiatives since a lot of Sakartvelo officials depend on a high percent of casino incomes. Economist Giorgy Khukhashvili agrees with this statement by young Georgian opposition. He remarks that presently Georgia has a nomenclature capitalism system with "the government partnering in big business", - Khukhashvili said in an interview with GeorgiaTimes correspondent.

However, the expert remarks, Ara movement's proposals to introduce limited access to casinos are not aimed solely at social recovery. Another objective is to stop "grey economy", now basically the core of subsistence for representatives of the country's current regime. "The statement is politically precise - hinting at the affection a number of Georgian officials have for frequenting casinos. Obviously, the country's main financial resources are owned by the officialdom. Their legal incomes, by the way, are quite low. That is why Chitadze's proposal looks like an attempt to bring the state officials out onto the open", - Khukhashvili thinks adding that the opposition's initiative is doomed to failure anyway as incompliant to basic human rights.   

However, another Georgian expert for economic issues Soso Tsiskarishvili is sure that the infringement on human rights is not the heart of the problem. "Georgia has so many spheres where human rights are violated that this limitation can't even be taken as one. For instance, rights to investment are openly disregarded in the country. Georgian businesses will never enjoy conditions granted to entrepreneurs from Turkey, for example",- Tsiskarishvili emphasizes.

Back to the gambling business issue in Georgia the expert remarks that eventual barriers on visits to casinos might turn quite useful. "Banning access to entertainments that bring gamblers nothing but trouble is even humane, I guess. All the more so that the restriction affects low-income citizens. There are a lot of Georgian citizens having debts to the bank system and reality pushes them to beachcombing. Casino owners lure them with huge prizes but it's more of a tragedy for most of them in the end", - Tsiskarishvili highlights calling Ara's initiative an act of social protection.

Soso Tsiskarishvili also states that the authorities could introduce various constraints in gambling business, but it does not pay. "Speaking about gambling business, the whole state policy must be reconsidered on the issue. However, the business is under total control of the authorities, as well as other businesses in fact", - the expert believes.

Artem Martynuk

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