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Anton Kuchukhidze: Despite the war, land-based legal gambling continues to pay license fees

The legalization of gambling, greeted by many with scepticism, benefits the State even in times of war. Legal operators continue to pay license fees and support the Ukrainian economy, despite the multimillion-dollar losses for their business. And most importantly, this applies not only to online gambling but also to offline operators much more affected by the war. A good example is the recent payment of license fees by Volna 4444, a member of the Ukrainian Gambling Council.

Restarting a business in a war is always a challenging and risky process with no guaranteed outcome. It is especially true for the entertainment sector unrelated to consumer needs or strategic economy sectors.

However, legal gambling representatives have shown that even in such a dire situation they were able to optimize and adapt their business processes and fulfil their obligations to the State. Payment of license fees by legal operators is the best proof of it.

The online sector’s license fees are more predictable because its hard assets have been less affected and are recovering faster. As for the land-based sector, the payment of license fees is rather a pleasant surprise and not expected behaviour. The land-based gambling market practically stopped in the first months of the war, and its recovery was uncertain. Many legal operators have physically lost access to their gambling halls in eastern Ukraine, where they were destroyed or taken away by invaders.

Despite this, legal operators who managed to keep at least part of their gambling halls are gradually resuming work and paying license fees. For instance, at the end of August, Volna 4444 contributed UAH 468,000 to the budget as license fees for slot machines. Earlier, a number of other ground-based operators also paid license fees.

I believe that such a position of legal operators indicates two key aspects characterizing legal gambling in today’s Ukraine.

1. The legal gambling market is successfully standing the test of the war and will develop when it ends. It is crucial to adopt the specialized draft law on gambling taxation 2713-d as soon as possible. It will contribute to the legal market development and significantly strengthen its position in the fight against illegal operators.

2. Demonstration of patriotism not in words but in deeds. Today, legal gambling presents a united front with the State in the fight against the enemy. The country’s military power is provided, in particular, thanks to the economy and the state budget. Legal gambling understands this and fulfils its financial obligations to the State.

By paying license fees and creating volunteer initiatives to help the State, legal operators offer every gambler a chance to join this effort. By playing in legal halls, one ensures their functioning, allowing them to pay license fees and taxes to the state budget, which today primarily works to win the war against russia. Also, in contrast to illegal halls, in legal ones, your rights are protected, and the payment of winnings is guaranteed by law.

Anton Kuchukhidze, Chairman of the Ukrainian Gambling Council, exclusively for the Ukrainian News


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