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Lawmakers should not mislead the President of Ukraine

The new legislative initiative 9256-d, promoted by the head of the relevant tax committee of the Verkhovna Rada, is presented as an attempt to overcome the problem of gambling addiction among the military. However, its public presentation is very different from the real essence of the mechanisms it contains. In fact, this legislative initiative is designed to significantly limit the rights and opportunities of legal gambling organizers and make it easier for illegal gamblers. For example, it does not restrict the illegal activities of lotteries that continue to imitate gambling without licenses.

The legislative initiative 9256-d appeared amidst the hype around the growth of gambling addiction among military personnel and was supposedly designed to combat it. It is cynically presented as a mechanism for combating corruption and addressing gambling addiction. However, if you look at the content of this initiative, it becomes clear that its only goal is to create additional restrictions for legal gambling organizers and at the same time provide favorable conditions for illegal gambling, in particular, lotteries. Although, as I have repeatedly written, the spread of  gambling  addiction among the population is primarily facilitated by illegal immigrants.

That is why I personally cannot trust this initiative. Instead of introducing real mechanisms to combat the source of the problem, it actually simplifies the work of those who create it. This conclusion can be reached very easily if we go a little further than official press releases and analyze the main provisions of 9256-d. In fact, this initiative aims to achieve four main "competitive advantages" for illegal immigrants, in particular, lottery players.

1. Ban on advertising for licensed gambling business organizers. The initiative proposes to impose strict restrictions on gambling advertising on both analog and digital platforms. At the same time, the issue of lottery advertising is not limited or prohibited. I would like to remind you that at present, M.S.L. LLC conducts activities that fully imitate sports betting, while the Ukrainian National Lottery has focused on imitating online casinos. Both lotteries do not have any licenses for these activities.

2. Removal of lottery operators from the jurisdiction of the uncontrolled CRGL to the "central executive body that implements state policy in the field of lotteries". It is also proposed to liquidate KRAIL. In other words, lottery operators are trying to avoid control by the CRGL, which is currently the only state body that tries to regulate the work of lottery operators and limit their illegal activities.

3. Providing lottery operators with the opportunity to legalize illegal online casinos under the guise of lottery distribution sites.

4. Preventing international business leaders from entering the lottery and gambling markets of Ukraine. The lottery monopoly was lobbied for by the relevant law in 2012, but to consolidate it, it lacks the adoption of license conditions that are now being pushed by lottery lobbyists. Such discriminatory administrative requirements and restrictions for gambling organizers, in addition to the existing problems with taxation uncertainty, may lead to the closure of the legal gambling market.

The lobbying of illegal interests of lottery operators within the framework of 9256-d is more than obvious. I hope that the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine will provide more professional legislative initiatives to implement the President's decision and take into account the interests of legal businesses that pay taxes and license fees, rather than lobbying for uncontrolled gambling, as the legislative initiators of 9256-d did.


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