Flutter’s PokerStars pulls out of Georgia

Georgia is expected to introduce new gambling legislation soon.
Georgia is expected to introduce new gambling legislation soon.

Has the exodus begun ahead of Georgia’s new gambling regulations?

Georgia.- Flutter Entertainment’s PokerStars has announced that it will terminate its online gambling offering in Georgia on March 1

Flutter’s flagship poker subsidiary has contacted Georgian players to advise them to withdraw account balances by the end of this month. It has also advised media partners of the decision.

PokerStars has not said why it is leaving the Eastern European country but the decision comes as the Georgian government prepares to introduce new gambling legislation that would significantly restrict business. The withdrawal raises the question of whether other operators will soon follow suit.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has approved a draft order from the Ministry of Finance to impose a 65-70 per cent tax and a 25+ age restriction on online gambling.

Phase one of the new reforms are due to be introduced this spring. That’s expected to be followed by a ban on gambling advertising of all kinds.

PokerStars has told players that it will honour customer bonuses and tournament ticket repayments for those closing their accounts.

The last change in legislation to affect gambling in Georgia introduced a requirement for software providers like online casino operators to have a legal presence in the country.

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