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Ignoring tax payments by lotteries should be stopped


Tax evasion is a violation of the law for which any company must be held accountable. However, for some unknown reason, there are still "selected" businesses in our country that have been avoiding paying taxes for years and going unpunished. And the state institutions that are supposed to combat this do not pay attention to their illegal activities. A striking example of such an industry is lotteries, which need to be addressed as soon as possible.

I have repeatedly emphasized that the situation with lotteries in Ukraine is critical. Their outright illegal activities and anti-state position on paying taxes create a dangerous imbalance in the gambling market. The consequences are hundreds of billions of hryvnias lost to the state budget and unfair competition with licensed gambling organizers, which threatens the existence of the legal gambling market as such.

While legal organizers pay billions in license fees and taxes annually, lottery operators not only do not have the appropriate licenses, but have not paid any licenses for more than 10 years. At first glance, a logical conclusion might be drawn here - if lotteries do not have licenses, they do not operate, and therefore do not have to pay taxes. However, the situation is diametrically opposite.

Lottery operators do not just organize and conduct lotteries, they also find ways to imitate gambling, in particular in the field of slot machine games, online casinos, and betting. Of course, unlike legal organizers, they do this without any licenses and through tax manipulation. For much lesser violations, legal gambling organizers are deprived of their licenses, for which they have paid tens of millions of dollars. Thus, the money earned by lottery operators not only does not benefit the state budget, but also distorts the rules of competition, as it is more profitable not to follow the rules than to comply with them.

It is unclear why and, most importantly, who allows lottery operators to do this. However, the relevant state authorities should put an end to their impunity as soon as possible. It will be fair if the state finally introduces a mechanism where lottery operators will not only be forced to purchase licenses and start paying taxes, but also compensate for the debt to the state budget for the past 10 years.

Having a valid license should be a matter of business existence for lotteries, just as it is today for legal gambling organizers. No license means no business. If you operate without a license, you bear financial and legal responsibility. These are very simple rules that, unfortunately, are still not enforced.

So, what do lotteries bring to the state today? Unfortunately, only lost budget revenues and discrediting the achievements of the gambling legalization reform. However, the specialized committee on tax policy, headed by Mr. Hetmantsev, is silent about this. At the same time, Mr. Hetmantsev and his associates have enough time to criticize legal gambling for "tax evasion." The situation is undoubtedly absurd and should be resolved as soon as possible.

 

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