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Global gambling companies refuse to work in grey markets

Global gambling players are increasingly turning away from unregulated grey markets. After all, working in a legal, understandable and predictable environment is much more profitable and safer in the long term. Besides, the refusal of powerful companies to work in grey markets forces the leadership of the respective countries to move faster towards the legalization of gambling in order to prevent losing hundreds of millions of dollars in investment and profits. All this makes the global gambling industry more civilized.

A clear trend has been observed in the global gambling market recently: more and more global companies withdraw from unregulated markets. Therefore, the statement of British gambling giant Entain that the company plans to exit all grey markets by 2023 did not come as a surprise.

Currently, Entain has already withdrawn from a number of unregulated markets or certain areas of these markets. This created pressure on the markets themselves, which now faced a choice: either to create a regulatory legislative framework, or to lose investments and state budget revenues from gambling.

This approach of the big gambling business is caused by two key factors.

First, there have been many cases when a company operating in an unregulated market received huge fines after the introduction of regulatory legislation for having worked in a certain area of gambling before its regulation. That is, from a purely practical point of view, companies want to protect themselves from such fines and sanctions imposed by regulators.

Second, the lack of market regulation or any part of it creates too many risks for the company, because when the rules are blurred or there are no rules at all, the business is not protected, and the security of investments and profits is not guaranteed. Therefore, it is much easier for companies, especially large ones, which are concerned about the stability of their business and reputation, to work in regulated markets.

However, there is also a flip side of the coin. Some companies, including well-known global brands, on the contrary, try to find loopholes to illegally operate in regulated markets. Unfortunately, this is also relevant for Ukraine. For example, the world-known PokerStars brand is present in our market, but it has not received a license in Ukraine. The company actually takes a share of the profit from licensed gambling organizers, but does not pay any licensing fees or taxes to the Ukrainian budget. Such behaviour is unacceptable not only for big gambling brands, but for any business in general. If some entity affords to break the rules, it should bear legal, financial and reputational responsibility for it.

That is why all companies on the Ukrainian market should be guided by the principle "Fair play or no play at all". After all, the clear and transparent position of the business regarding operation only in regulated markets contributes to the improvement of global gambling standards and the development of legal gambling. All participants in the process, namely the state, business and players, reap benefits only within the framework of legally regulated relations.


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