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The legal gambling market is gradually approaching EU standards

Despite the openly unfavourable external conditions, the legal gambling market in Ukraine gradually develops and undergoing progressive transformations. At the end of the previous year, important steps were taken to introduce the State Online Monitoring System (SOMS), and as soon as the beginning of this year, the market received positive news regarding equipment certification. This trend is certainly productive for the market and should be extended to other aspects of the operation of legal gambling operators.

On 16 January, the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries make another step towards simplifying the work of licensed gambling organizers in Ukraine. This time, the changes affected the issue of gaming equipment certification. Several European companies have been added to the list of entities that can carry out equipment certification:

- GLI Europe B.V. (Kingdom of the Netherlands);

- NMi Certin B.V. (Kingdom of the Netherlands);

- BMM Spain Testlabs, s.l.u. (Kingdom of Spain);

- eCOGRA Limited (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland);

- SIQ Gaming Laboratories, Ltd. (Republic of Slovenia).

This means that legal gambling organizers in Ukraine, which use gambling equipment certified by companies from the above list, may avoid certifying it, because the certificates issued by these entities will be recognized as valid on the territory of our state. Undoubtedly, this is a great support for legal organizers, because they will not spend time and money to confirm this certification in Ukraine. In addition to that, this step is also important from the point of view of CRGL's efforts to bring Ukrainian regulatory requirements closer to EU standards.

Against the background of these active efforts of CRGL to ease the regulatory environment, the fact of the opposite trend regarding the introduction of tax legislation is interesting. Absolutely all conscious market participants mention the need to adopt a specific tax law for the field of gambling as soon as possible, starting from the date of legalization of gambling in 2020. However, despite the fact that the dedicated Draft Law 2713-dbeen was developed more than 3 years ago, it has not yet been adopted.

The fact that there is still no adequate tax regulation of the gaming industry creates a significant disparity in the market, which is not at all characteristic of developed Western jurisdictions. After all, in European countries, either high taxes or high cost of licenses. In Ukraine, we currently have a paradoxical situation, because we have one of the most expensive licenses in the world and very high taxation, which does not take into account the specifics of the industry.

That is, if we imagine that the legal gambling market is a car, and the necessary reforms are the wheels, then we will see that while some wheels are actively spinning, others are openly braking, preventing it from moving at the required speed. That is why it is absolutely necessary to put order in the tax policy in the field of gambling. The current draft law 2713-d can be taken as a basis at least in the context of defining specific terms and general approaches to taxation. Issues with tax rates are easily resolved in the presence of political will and transparent dialogue between representatives of the government and the market. And the faster it is done, the faster and more comfortable it all passengers of this "car" will be.


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