A significant transformation in the operation of companies in various sectors of the economy was the consequence of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The gambling market was no exception to the general rule.
In the first months of hostilities, the land-based segment of gambling almost stopped its operation, as most of its assets were concentrated in the Southern and Eastern Ukraine, where urban infrastructure suffered significant losses due to artillery fire, missile strikes and the use of enemy UAVs. After the liberation of part of the territories from the occupiers and a certain stabilization in other regions, which were liberated from Russian troops thanks to the actions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Territorial Defence Forces, the offline gambling segment began to recover, but has not returned to pre-war positions yet.
The online segment of Ukrainian gambling not merely managed to survive the first months of the invasion with smaller losses, it adapted much faster to the new conditions and even began gradual development. The adaptive capabilities of the legal organizers of the domestic online gambling segment were noticed by foreign investors. During the war, they invest in Ukrainian gambling, just as British EuroAtlantic Group recently did, which bought a large share of the Ukrainian Cosmolot brand.
Despite all the troubles of the wartime, representatives of both segments of the gambling market in Ukraine continue not only to work actively, but also to act legally and make the corresponding payments to the budget. For example, as of 1 September, the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (CRGL) collected UAH 1.163 billion of mandatory annual license payments from the participants of the Ukrainian gambling market to the state budget. This is 73% of the budget revenue plan defined for the gambling sector in the Law of Ukraine "On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2023" at the level of 1.596 billion hryvnias. I would like to note that this exceed by more than 25% of the planned indicator of 2022.
These indicators of legal gambling operation once again prove that the market has been gradually developing and attracting investments for three years since the restoration of the legal operation of the gambling sector. However, the speed of this development depends not only on the companies representing the online and offline segments, but also on state policy, primarily fiscal and regulatory ones.
Regulation of the fiscal space will make the market more attractive for foreign investors, and the combination of efforts of state institutions and industry-specific specialized market associations will facilitate reducing the number of illegal gambling establishments and increase the level of security for players. To this end, for example, at the end of September, the Ukrainian Gambling Council (UGC) signed the Memorandum of Cooperation with CRGL and a number of other state institutions to create a systematic approach to preventing and combating gambling addiction. And UGC's cooperation with law enforcement agencies in identifying illegal businesses and countering their activities has been going on for several years in a row.
All these measures can facilitate the development of the legal gambling business in Ukraine and increase its contribution to the country's economy.