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Compliance Updates

Parimatch became the first company in Ukraine to receive permission for a betting license

George Miller

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Parimatch became the first company in Ukraine to receive permission for a betting license
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After signing a law on the legalization of gambling, Ukraine moved closer to regulation’s European gambling market standards. Parimatch received the first official Ukrainian permission for a license for betting activities in Ukraine.

On August 13, the law on the legalization of the gambling market came into force – one of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s promises to the people of Ukraine. After 11 years, the gambling business emerged from the shadows, and the state finally brought the country’s betting industry regulations in line with those of Europe.

Parimatch became the first licensed operator in Ukraine. The license allows the company to legally provide betting services, casinos, and poker, which will generate tax revenues to the state budget. The Ukrainian license became the 5th for the international holding Parimatch.

Restarting the gambling market according to European standards will catalyze the inflow of international investments into the country. Parliamentarians have already stated that in 2021 alone, the budget of Ukraine expects about 255 million euros in revenues from the gambling industry. The state will direct the money received from the sale of licenses to support socially significant areas such as medicine, culture, and sports. The influx of foreign investors also contributes to developing of technologies that will give Ukraine the impetus to compete in the international entertainment market.

“Work still remains to be done on reforming tax legislation before the Ukrainian market becomes attractive to foreign investors. Taxation should be transparent and logical so that it doesn’t create additional obstacles for foreign investors. At this stage, the cost of licenses for various types of gambling activities is so high that, together with taxation, it does not make investments in the nascent Ukrainian market attractive. So Ukraine could lose the competition in terms of investment to other countries. Under favorable legal conditions, specialist market capacity and qualifications will allow Ukraine to become a gaming hub for the Eastern Europe region. Like Malta and Manila, Ukraine now has the potential to become a center of expertise for gambling entertainment.” – Managing Partner of Parimatch Holding Maksym Liashko

Compliance Updates

GambleAware Calls for Mandatory Levy in Gambling Act Review Consultation

Niji Narayan

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GambleAware Calls for Mandatory Levy in Gambling Act Review Consultation
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GambleAware has published its submission of Call for Evidence to the Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in response to the Gambling Act review.

The submission outlines ongoing issues in the gambling sector found by GambleAware, with a particular focus on the prevention of gambling harms and research to inform policy.

It comes in response to the UK government’s December 2020 review of the 2005 Gambling Act. As part of the review, the DCMS launched a call for new evidence to investigate issues such as spend limits and how gambling affects young adults.

The findings are intended to inform changes to the 2005 Gambling Act.

Most prominently, GambleAware continued its advocacy for a mandatory levy to fund research, education and treatment (RET) related to gambling and gambling-related harm.

Currently, British gambling law requires licensed British operators to donate a portion of funds to responsible gambling initiatives, but there is no minimum on how much should be donated.

GambleAware reported that in the last twelve months, it received £15.6m in voluntary donations, a rise from £11m the previous year. In June 2020 the Betting and Gaming Council pledged £100m to GambleAware on behalf of the 4 largest gambling operators in Britain: Bet365, GVC Holdings, Flutter Entertainment and William Hill.

“The voluntary nature of the current arrangements results inevitably in uncertainty of funding year to year and to significant variations in cash flow within the year,” the submission reads.

“This unpredictable funding model represents a significant challenge given that a key function of GambleAware as a commissioning body is to provide assurance to funded services about recurrent income streams so that expert clinical teams can be established and sustained to provide treatment and support for those who need help.”

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Baltics

Lithuanian Regulator Issues Fine for Illegal Ads on Basketball Website

Niji Narayan

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Lithuanian Regulator Issues Fine for Illegal Ads on Basketball Website
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Lithuania’s Gambling Supervisory Authority has fined an employee of a digital media business for placing illegal gambling ads on basketball news and information website Krepšinis.net, after a court confirmed its authority to take action.

The site was found to be hosting gambling ads with slogans and animated backgrounds, and featuring promotional bonuses, all of which are prohibited under Lithuanian regulations. These ads also lacked the mandatory warnings required in gambling ads.

The regulator said that Krepšinis.net had been a “refuge for illegal gambling advertising for several years.” This, it explained, was due to the site being registered outside of Lithuania, making it difficult to enforce advertising regulations.

However, the Vilnius City District Court ruled that advertising gambling in a way that contravenes Lithuanian law on the site is not permitted, as the site targets Lithuanian customers.

“With gambling advertised on Krepšinis.net, law-abiding Lithuanian portals found themselves in an unequal situation, and citizens were illegally encouraged to participate in gambling,” the regulator explained.

After conducting an investigation, the Gambling Supervisory Authority determined that the ads were placed by a business named UAB All Media Digital, which provides advertising services for websites. As a result, the employee responsible for placing the ads was fined €1500.

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Asia

Kerala High Court Refuses to Stay Ban on Online Rummy

Niji Narayan

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Kerala High Court Refuses to Stay Ban on Online Rummy
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The High Court of Kerala has rejected a petition from online gaming companies to stay the ordinance that makes playing online rummy for stakes a punishable offence.

The state of Kerala is sticking to the online rummy ban introduced in February despite complaints from gaming companies who note that land-based play of rummy is not banned.

Online gaming companies also noted that rummy is a game of skill and the amendment of section 14A of the Kerala Gaming Act of 1960 only covered games of chance, not skill games.

According to local media, although the Kerala High Court stated that it does not agree with the complaint, it asked the Kerala Government to present a statement by May 29.

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