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What will 2023 be remembered for in the legal gambling sector




For the gambling industry, 2023 became a year of true survival. And it's not just about overcoming the obvious challenges related to the war. In addition to a significant reduction in business, loss of assets and outflow of clients, legal gambling organizers continue to combat "traditional" problems: lack of proper regulation of tax legislation, pressure from illegal businesses, media attacks. If the state is interested in continuing the development of the industry and receiving appropriate dividends from it, these issues must be addressed as soon as possible.

"What doesn't kill us makes us stronger". This phrase clearly characterizes the conditions in which the legal gambling market in Ukraine existed in 2023. To some extent, this is a good thing, because challenges and difficulties harden the businesses, increasing their adaptability and resistance to large and unpredictable shocks. The fact that legal gambling operators have very clearly demonstrated these qualities in 2023 it indisputable.

However, not all challenges and types if pressure are productive for business. Some of the problems in the context of Ukraine are systemic in nature and seriously hinder the development of the industry.

First, legal organizers of gambling constantly feel pressure from illegal businesses, in particular, the lottery lobby. This comprehensive pressure is provided directly by Mr. Hetmantsev, who for certain reasons is very interested in losing all the gains of the gambling legalization reform.

Secondly, legal gambling organizers constantly have problems in working with banks and other financial service providers. It is not clear why banks are afraid to make payments from the legal gambling sector, but at the same time they do not consider it risky to accept payments or serve the cash flow of illegal lottery operators, whose market volume is measured in hundreds of billions of hryvnias. For some reason, all applicable (and not so) authorities and "experts" fought against the miscoding of the legal gambling, while the same phenomenon among lottery operators has not faced and does not face any opposition at all.

Thirdly, tax legislation has not yet been adopted. Within the framework of tax regulation, there is a problem with the amount of tax rates, a number of terms have not yet been defined, in particular, the concept of winnings, GGR and other payments that must be made by gambling organizers. Artificial delaying the resolution of these issues, managed by Mr. Hetmantsev, creates additional pressure on the legal gambling sector. It also increases the uncertainty of the future for the legal gambling industry and prevents organizers from building long-term strategies for the development of their business.

Fourthly, the development of legislative initiatives, openly aimed at destroying the legal gambling, has become very active lately. In particular, we are talking about draft law 10101, which is again being promoted by the same Mr. Hetmantsev. This draft law is the culmination of Hetmantsev's efforts to create regulatory conditions under which legal gambling will be forced to disappear, and illegal gambling organizers will regain full control over the gambling market. All this is nothing more than the desire of the "shadow king" to return to the old days, when there were a bunch of illegal halls named "King", "King Loto", "Superloto" in each yard, which brought millions of dollars in tax-free profits to their owners.

No industry will be able to function effectively and bring financial benefit to the state if its players are placed in conditions where it is more profitable to work "in the underground" than to comply with the law. Therefore, the above problems should be solved as soon as possible. Otherwise, we risk losing an industry capable of generating multi-billion profits and attracting hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign investment.

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