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Turbulence in the gambling market affects investments in the industry

If the Verkhovna Rada goes ahead with reformatting the gambling market control system in Ukraine, it is safe to say that there will be no investment in this industry for a long time. Investments, like money, like not only silence but also stability. Stability of the economy, transparency of the legal framework, adequacy of the proposed changes.

The bottom line is that the Tax Committee of the Verkhovna Rada has given the green light to the government's initiatives to liquidate the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (CRGL) in order to automate the issuance of gambling licenses. At least, this is what we should expect if the draft law No. 9256 "On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on the Organization and Conduct of Gambling and Lotteries" is considered.

The initiative is supposedly good - to automate the system of issuing licenses and introduce the State Online Monitoring System, but, as always, the devil is in the details. And the question is not even that the main objective of this law, as I see it, is to redistribute control over the gambling market in Ukraine. The question is, in whose interests is this being done? We can only hint and guess. One thing is certain now - all this shaking up of the regulatory framework will not lead to anything good.

The biased attitude of Danylo Hetmantsev, Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Customs and Tax Policy, to the activities of CRGL has been known for a long time. At least, given the number of legislative initiatives in which CRGL is involved, one can draw this conclusion. But this is not the main thing. The main thing today is that by depriving the Ukrainian gambling industry of stable conditions for development, "rocking" the legislative framework with various innovations, the attractiveness of the gambling industry in the eyes of foreign investors is heading towards zero.

According to insider information, the public discussion of legislative changes, the raid on CRGL, and the increasingly frequent inspections of licensees have discouraged foreign investors from the UAE from investing billions in the purchase of the Kozatsky and Ukraine hotels in the center of Kyiv. It is possible that these hotels could have had casinos and gambling halls worthy of the world's best amusement parks. But it didn't happen. And it is obvious that the issue of influence on the inflow of investments to Ukraine is not the war against russia, but the excessive activity of legislators who are confusing the stability of gambling.

And this case with hotels is just on the surface. No one knows what consequences such "man-made" turbulence has already led to in such a sensitive business as gambling.

On the other hand, it should be remembered that gambling is one of the few sectors of the Ukrainian economy that consistently shows positive budget revenues during the war period. I think that this stability of the process is difficult to replicate for other segments of the economy, not only in wartime but even in peacetime.

After all, Ukraine will need stability, transparency, and stability of gambling rules in the post-war period, when it will need budget revenues to rebuild the country! However, the current dynamics of the Verkhovna Rada's work on changes in the gambling sector, in particular the committee headed by Danylo Hetmantsev, suggests that this industry is facing a storm, if not a tailwind.

Today, the main issue is to ensure that the shocks included in the draft law No. 9256 do not discourage businesses from investing in gambling at all. Nevertheless, it is one thing to develop business infrastructure in peacetime, and another to redraw the legislative field in wartime. This is when business needs to be given the greatest opportunities for development. At least that is how it seems and should be for a country with democratic principles of development.


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