Gambling in Ukraine. What’s going on and why?
Ivan Kondilenko, CEO, CASEXE:
“In the future, Ukraine could become one of the most interesting and top priority markets for our company. And this goes not without a reason, as this is the second country in Europe by population, which has the experience of regulating gambling business and a certain established segment of the audience that is quite aware with peculiarities of gambling (first of all, land based). That’s why we decided to carefully study the situation with gambling legalization in Ukraine, and understand why there’s still no any progress in the industry and what should we expect in the nearest future.
On September 29, 2015, CASEXE has been sponsoring the first Ukrainian Gambling Congress, which was held in Kyiv and was expected to become a catalyst for progress. Event has been a top class, but unfortunately, speeches and promises from politicians weren’t enough and the law on legislation of gambling has not been accepted yet. Why’s that so?
It seems that key reason for such situation is powerful lobbying from people who represent the only kind of legal business in Ukraine – lotteries. Their unwillingness to share the market with bookmakers and casino is a key obstacle on the way of adopting the law that could regulate all types of gambling in the country.
The essence of the law is important as well, being offered by the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take into account all realities and interests of market participants. We’ll not go into details, but let’s just note the fact that the draft in its existing form creates more problems and obstacles for operators, than possibilities for organizing a business.
Some part of Ukrainian political elite explains it as a care about population and preventing negative consequences of gambling legalization. Unfortunately, such notes are no more than manipulation, as advantages and benefits from adopting of the law that we don’t have today would be so much bigger. So let’s look through the key thesis against legalization that we can hear from mass media.
1.) “Gambling is waste, addiction and poverty”. This is not more than a mere myth. There’s a threat for people fighting the gambling addiction. But there’re no more gambling addicts in the industry than, for example, people suffering from alcohol addiction, and it’s allowed everywhere. American social studies show that gambling problem has been an issue for 1 – 1,5 per cent of the total amount of player respondents. In your opinion, is this figure high or low?
2.) “Gambling is criminal”. Makes sense if we speak about the country where it’s banned. The need for playing has not been vanished, thus players go to illegal venues. And there are lots of them. The only way to exterminate criminal essence of this business is to legalize it.
3.) “Children and teenagers who can’t control themselves will attend casinos”. This is another myth, because the rules of thereasonable law completely prevent people under the legal age to enter such places. And owner of the business shall bear responsibility for that with a possibility of losing the license and confiscation of property. No need to doubt – control will be very strict. It’s proven by the worldwide experience of casino and betting shops operation.
In such a way, we just have to acknowledge that there are certain business groups in Ukraine standing in the way of eagerly awaited legalization of gambling business, that see it unprofitable to regulate the industry and establish fair rules of the market game. When it comes to the social side of the issue, there’re some challenges here as well, related to negative image of gambling among the population, although all civilized world sees it as no more than an alternative way of spending time. Let’s not forget about additional jobs the business would create, as well as about taxes that could make up the significant revenue inflow to the budget of Ukraine.
We’ll be following the development of the situation in Ukraine with great interest, although we hardly believe that the law on gambling legalization will be adopted this year.”
CASEXE is the leading European manufacturer of software for gambling industry. Multifunctional online casino platform is a key product of the company allowing to launch the most challenging and unconventional projects.