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Unlocking the potential of legal gambling depends on parliamentarians

Every time I feel surprised and cannot ignore publications and statements that "the entire potential of gambling in Ukraine has been depleted". I would like to ask those who make such statements: what do you mean by the depletion of the potential and what criteria or timeframe are you talking about?

I would like to remind you that the gambling legalization reform in Ukraine began in the second half of 2020 with the adoption by the Parliament of the Law of Ukraine "On State Regulation of Activities Related to the Organization and Conduct of Gambling". Until then, starting from May 2009, the legal operation of gambling companies was impossible due to the provisions of the Law of Ukraine "On the Prohibition of Gambling Business in Ukraine".

Thus, the reform had to radically change the situation and bring gambling out of the shadows. During the first year and a half of the reform (August 2020 - February 2022), a powerful white gambling market was formed in Ukraine, which began to attract foreign investors who were only waiting for the fiscal legislation to be streamlined and for the introduction of such an effective mechanism of state control over the work of all legal operators as the State Online Monitoring System (SOMS).

As for the streamlining of legislation, the necessary changes to the Tax Code (determining the amount of tax liabilities of business entities, the specifics of gambling taxation, the format of income calculations, etc.) and other legislative acts to introduce a single cross-cutting legal terminology in the field of gambling have long been prepared and collected in the draft law No. 2713-d "On Amendments to the Tax Code of Ukraine and Other Laws of Ukraine on Taxation of Income from Organizing and Conducting

Regarding the control mechanism, the timeline for the introduction of the SOM was disrupted due to the full-scale Russian invasion, as the government had to respond quickly to security issues that needed to be resolved as soon as possible, and certain current issues were postponed. Nevertheless, Ukraine entered 2024 with an important event for the national gambling industry: the government supported the project to implement the State Online Monitoring System for the gambling business.

In fact, the only issue that has not yet been resolved is the issue of the legislative definition of lotteries as gambling. Even during the period of the ban on legal gambling, lotteries were doing well due to the legislative gap, and many illegal gambling facilities existed under the guise of lotteries.

And foreign investors who are studying the prospects of investing in the domestic gambling market also take this point into account, or rather, they take into account the possible risks of unfair competition that will exist until lotteries are recognized as gambling by law and all current regulatory mechanisms, as well as rules and regulations, are applied to lottery operators, as well as to other legal gambling organizers.

So, despite the war, the legal Ukrainian gambling market has the potential to grow. It's up to parliamentarians to adopt appropriate legislative changes that will help unlock this potential.


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