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The state should do everything to facilitate legal business


Recent reports show that the legalization of gambling in Ukraine helps to replenish the country's budget every month. And every year the amount of taxes increases despite the departure of some large companies.

For example, in May 2024, the state budget received UAH 1.8 billion from legal gambling companies. This is 2.1 times more than in May last year. Most of this amount is income tax (73.8%). Another 25.1% is personal income tax. The rest is license fees. For five full months of 2024, the budget of Ukraine was replenished with taxes from the gambling business by 7.3 billion hryvnias. The amount is 3.1 times higher than in the same period of 2023.

What does this mean? First of all, it means that legal gambling continues to work and strengthens the state's capacity during the war. Accordingly, the state, for its part, should provide such conditions for business operations that tax revenues would grow as a result of development rather than increasing the tax burden. This is the rational and most logical way.

But reality makes its own adjustments, and unfortunately, they are not in favor of either business or the state. Rather, they are to the detriment. For example, after the NSDC decision "On Counteracting the Negative Effects of Gambling on the Internet" was enacted by Presidential Decree No. 234/2024, which provides for some restrictions on gambling advertising and toughening of existing legislative prohibitions, the Parliament adopted in the first reading the draft law No. 9256-d, which proposes to completely (!) ban gambling advertising in any media!

And the government, just in case, has since adopted the following amendments to Resolution No. 566 of May 17, 2024 "Some Issues of Counteracting the Negative Effects of Gambling on the Internet", which provide for a ban on any advertising of gambling and bookmakers in Ukraine until the adoption of draft law No. 9256-d!

Accordingly, instead of regulatory influence to improve the situation on the legal market, the domestic gambling industry received a complete ban on advertising activities. As a result, the work of legal market organizers will be significantly complicated, and illegal operators will have additional opportunities to attract players to their gambling platforms. Not only legal businesses, but also state and local budgets will suffer losses.

At the same time, there is no ban on advertising lottery services. That is, lottery operators have a great competitive advantage and... the ability to safely advertise imitation of other types of gambling activities, as it was during the legislative ban on gambling in Ukraine in 2009-2020. Is the past coming back?

If so, then other problems of that time may soon return: slot machines at every corner, schoolchildren involved in gambling, casinos and bookmakers under the "roof" and signage of lotteries, etc. And almost zero revenues to both state and local budgets.

And with each new total ban on a particular type of economic activity for legal businesses, the black market will flourish. So it is worth recalling the alphabetical truth: only legal business contributes to the state's capacity, while illegal business contributes to itself and corrupt officials.

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