“Today, when our citizens mine every lari, when our economy is in a very distressing situation, the authorities deliberately left online gambling to the population as a way of survival,” Dolidze told reporters. According to the leader of the “For the People” movement, today online games in Georgia are not just entertainment, as is customary in other countries. Dolidze requires the country’s authorities to develop a plan to close all online casinos in the country within a year, as has already been done in many countries around the world.
“As part of this annual plan, a plan to rehabilitate people dependent on gambling should also be presented. The pandemic has directly affected the incomes of our citizens, and online gambling has further aggravated the situation,” Dolidze said.
The issue of the dangers of gambling became especially relevant in Georgia last year, when two young people – Ludomanov, committed suicide. Since then, the country periodically held protests demanding to recognize ludomania as a mental illness, to stop advertising gambling, to restrict access to online casinos, to introduce age restrictions for players.
In November, the Government’s Victim and Victims assistance agency announced a new program that would provide rehabilitation services to minors between the ages of 13 and 18 and young people between the ages of 18 and 25 (including their families) who believe they are addicted to psychoactive substances or gambling and want to get rid of these bad habits.
For help, anyone can call the 111 hotlines. All of these services will be provided free of charge. A special 24-hour hotline,111 has been set up by the Government of Georgia to help children during the coronavirus pandemic. It is available from April 27. The aim is to advise parents on all problematic issues concerning children and to help them solve them.
The problems of gambling in Georgia were again discussed recently, when a man broke into one of the offices of a microfinance organization, took 19 hostages, and threatened to use a grenade. The requirements of the invader were unusual: to reduce bank interest, to ban gambling, and to reduce the price of medicines.
The invader was in the building for about three and a half hours. It is already known that at the time of the invasion of the microfinance organization he did not have a weapon, and under the guise of a grenade was lighter. The accused is now awaiting trial in custody for two or more hostages.