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How two years of war changed Ukrainian gambling

The full-scale war that russia launched against Ukraine two years ago on 24 February 2022, significantly changed the structure of the legal gambling market. The offline segment suffered the greatest losses, primarily due to the physical destruction of buildings caused by rocket-bomb hits and drone strikes. It so happened that a large part of the ground segment was located in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, the territories of which became the area of hostilities.

However, domestic gambling sector was able to quickly adapt to the new operating conditions, focus on the development of the online segment and demonstrate significant growth in 2023. For example, from payment for licenses in the field of organization and conduct of gambling in 2023, UAH 1.969 billion (USD 52.367 million) of revenues were paid to the state budget. In total, for 2023, the gaming business paid UAH 10.4 billion (USD 276.596 million) in taxes.

Of course, if it were not for the war, these indicators would be much better. Such factors as significant decrease in domestic Ukrainian tourist flows and the almost complete disappearance of foreign ones, a constant physical threat to infrastructure facilities in which gambling establishments are located, interruption of work during air raids, the presence of a curfew, which significantly affects the time and duration of operation of casinos, gambling halls of slot machines, etc., do not allow to fully restore the work of the offline gambling segment and reduces the results of the economic activity of the industry.

However, this did not stand in the way of the volunteer and charitable activities of the legal organizers of the gambling market. The Ukrainian Gaming Council, as the largest association of legal gambling business organizers, uses all available mechanisms to help the state counter the Russian aggressor. This is manifested both in the assistance of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and in the implementation of humanitarian projects. In particular, all UGC member companies are founders or co-founders of charitable foundations. Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the total aid to the Armed Forces and Ukrainians facilitated by Favbet Foundation already amounted to more than UAH 210 million (USD 5.585 million), assistance from Slots City Foundation totalled more than 150 million UAH (USD 4 million), assistance from Pin-Up Foundation amounted to UAH 52 million (USD 1.38 million), assistance from Cosmolot amounted to more than UAH 130 million (USD 3.46 million). The WeCareFund charity fund from Vbet Ukraine helps in solving humanitarian problems of the population, and more than UAH 19 million (USD 0.5 million) was accumulated for charity. In addition to that, it is necessary to mention the former licensees, the above-mentioned Parimatch actively helped until it ceased operations due to dubious sanctions. Therefore, the total amount of assistance to licensees currently is almost double, totalling UAH 1 billion 128 million (almost USD 30 million).

Despite the war, Ukrainian gambling sector has achieved considerable success in development. We should constantly remind about this to the world, using the opportunities of international professional forums. In particular, ICE 2024, an important event for the global gambling industry, will be held in London from 6 to 8 February 2024. This year, more than 45,000 pioneers in the gambling industry will gather on the grounds of ExCeL London, where the Ukrainian market will be represented by the Ukrainian Gambling Council.

ICE 2024 is the most influential global gambling business and education event in the world. Therefore, its participants should learn about what opportunities will open up for gambling after the victory of Ukraine and the defeat of russia.

The regional legal gambling market will need a new leader. Given that the Russian market has become toxic, Ukraine will become the centre of offline gambling in Central and Eastern Europe after the war. There are also huge prospects online - even now, there are foreign companies among the licensees, for example, BetConstruct.

Considering the fact that even in the conditions of war, the Ukrainian gambling market demonstrates growth, it is attractive for investment and interesting for large international business, which carefully studies the conditions for investments and the prospects for further earnings from it. The gambling market has always been distinguished by a very rational approach to investing in new promising regions. In Europe, the post-war Ukraine will be such a region.


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