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Illegal gambling has Russian roots and inflict losses to the state budget of Ukraine

In terms of revenue of the state budget from the gambling sector, the current year will witness both record income from taxes and income from license fees. For example, according to the data of the fiscal authorities, tax revenues for the period from January to October of the current year reached UAH 7.35 billion. According to the Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries, thanks to payments for licenses received from legal gambling organizers during the same period, the state treasury received UAH 1.5241 billion. That is, in just 10 months of 2023, revenues of the Ukrainian budget from legal companies organizers in the gambling market totalled UAH 9 billion.

It would seem that the situation is very good: the industry is recovering from the losses of the first year of full-scale war, the state treasury receives record revenues. At first glance, everything is like that. However, until you pay attention to the activities of illegal businesses, which significantly intensified their operation during the war.

In particular, it is now possible to freely gamble on more than 1,200 illegal websites in Ukraine. For comparison, there are only 14 companies that have licenses to organize online casinos. So, the scale of the problem is impressive. Such an advantage in the number of illegal websites means, in addition to colossal shadow financial cash flows, an obstacle to the work of legal organizers, and the complete insecurity of players from any fraudulent schemes on the part of illegal businesses.

To make thing worse, often illegal gambling organizers do not act by themselves. According to the closed research of partner structures, which was conducted by Ukrainian Gambling Council, the largest professional association of legal organizers of the Ukrainian gambling market, Russian brand Mostbet is the leader in gambling traffic in Ukraine. Oddly enough, Mostbet feels so free in Ukraine that it conducts quite aggressive advertising campaigns, in particular in social media, without any control and restrictions from law enforcement agencies.

Why do I pay so much attention to illegal businesses in the online segment? Because it was the online sector that was able to quickly revive in the current year, and even was able to demonstrate progress. After all, the land-based sector recovers at a much slower pace due to hostilities. Therefore, the majority of revenues to the state budget are provided by legal gambling organizers operating in the online segment. The lack of reaction of law enforcement authorities to a fairly extensive network of illegal online casino websites and also those affiliated with the Russian brand is a very vivid example of how the law enforcement system has failed in the fight against illegal businesses. I would like to note that Mostbet has a very aggressive advertising strategy in Ukraine, especially through social media. So, it's hard not to notice it!

Considering how much taxes are paid by less than two dozen legal gambling organizers, one can only imagine the state's losses from the operation of illegal sites, especially when their quantity 80 times exceeds the number of illegal ones!

If we continue to avoid responding to such shameful phenomena and opposing the work of underground gambling businesses, then the white market will exist in unequal business conditions in its state and will decline instead of developing. Everyone loses from this, both business and the state.


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