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De-shadowing of gambling did not reach lotteries

Unfortunately, the gambling market reform, which has been underway for almost four years, has not managed to fulfill all the tasks of creating a white and transparent gambling market. To this day, an entire sub-sector of the gambling business remains unshadowed.

Even Danylo Hetmantsev, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada's Tax Committee, admits this: "The issue of de-shadowing is not only in the area of excisable goods or gambling. Yes, we really started this work back in 2022 with these markets, because they still had the highest percentage of shadow."

And this "shadow percentage" will remain in place if lotteries, which are not yet subject to general state regulation of the gambling market, continue to be "not gambling".

I would like to remind you that lotteries are a form of gambling all over the world. Participants place bets on winning in a random draw, where the results are determined by chance. As with other gambling activities, participation in a lottery can result in winning or losing money. However, the national legislation still considers lotteries to be a kind of independent and unrelated business activity.

Although the legislative exclusion of lotteries from the scope of the law on gambling business legalization creates unequal conditions for legal gambling market organizers and lottery operators, domestic lawmakers are not concerned about this. Nor does it bother them that such a situation creates the basis for the growth of corruption, the emergence and operation of illegal gambling platforms, and other problems in the gambling sector.

It is important that legislators consider this issue with all possible consequences in mind and ensure that gambling is regulated in accordance with the principles of fairness and safety.

But so far, fairness and security are only desirable categories. Since 2022, the Ukrainian Gambling Council, as the largest professional community of legal gambling business organizers in Ukraine, has been observing only an increase in systemic pressure on legal gambling, although the process of de-shadowing involves the fight against illegal gambling. Yes, we understand that this is not surprising, as the gambling market has been underground for eleven years (from 2009 to 2020), and illegal gambling operators, officials, and law enforcement officers have become accustomed to it. They are so used to it that they actively resist coming out of the shadows.

Gambling de-shadowing is a strategy aimed at reducing the market share of illegal gambling platforms by attracting their customers to legal organizers. This may include strengthening control and regulation of the gambling market, introducing new legislative initiatives and measures to combat illegal operators.

One way to de-shadowing could be to create competitive conditions for legal organizers, which would allow them to attract more customers and reduce the demand for illegal operators' services.

However, it is important that such measures are balanced and do not lead to obstruction of legal gambling development or violation of consumer rights. But creating conditions is a task for government officials and parliamentarians. Business is open to a dialog on this issue, but are the authorities willing to communicate?



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