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Volodymyr Zelensky to Restore Gambling Business in Ukraine

Niji Narayan

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Photo source: mycountryeurope.com
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has made a statement on the possible restoration of the gambling business in the country. The state budget missed billions of hryvnias since the ban of gambling business in Ukraine.

According to the statements of Zelensky, only a general outline of future gambling liberalisation can be formed. The statement was somewhat confusing. At first, Zelensky announced that gambling facilities would be located in five-star hotels, then added that the location would be limited to the southern gaming zone in Odesa. Considering that the state is now a smartphone, it seems that the president received a message about the legalisation of gambling from one device, but two different people typed in text.

On the eve of the election, some pro-government influence groups implemented several “approaches” to monopolise the legal lottery business. According to the experts, the legalisation of the gambling business in Ukraine can additionally bring up to 10 billion UAH (400 million USD) per year to the treasury.

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Eastern Europe

Ukraine Telecoms Regulator Orders ISPs to Block 32 Online Gambling Websites

Niji Narayan

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Ukraine Telecoms Regulator Orders ISPs to Block 32 Online Gambling Websites
Photo Source: open4business.com.ua
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Ukrainian national telecommunications regulator the National Commission for State Regulation of Communications and Informatization (NKRZI) has called on internet service providers to block 32 online gambling websites. The websites include domains for PartyPoker, Pinnacle and CloudBet, as well as FastPay Casino, Yukon Gold, Golden Tiger Casino and BetChain.

The decision, which came at the order of the Chief Investigative Directorate of the Security Service of Ukraine, was based on a judicial decision by Oksana Hardina, judge in the Shevchenkovskiy District Court of Kyiv.

Hardina’s ruling gave the telecommunications regulator the power to issue blocking orders against websites offering illegal content, including online gambling.

An appeal to the order may be filed to the Kyiv Court of Appeal, within five days of the issuance of the order.

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Balkans

Lafka Market Stops Operations After Bulgaria’s Gambling Law Changes

Niji Narayan

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Lafka Market Stops Operations After Bulgaria’s Gambling Law Changes
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Changes in Bulgaria’s gambling law have caused the major local retailer Lafka Market to close its operations because of the loss of private lottery revenues.

Last week, the Bulgaria State Gambling Commission (BGC) issued a statement announcing the formal imposition of the new laws of the country restricting lottery operations to those run by the Bulgarian Sports Totalizator. Other lotteries were ordered to “cease the distribution and sale of tickets, coupons, cards or other tokens” related to private lottery operators and, in the presence of BGC staff, destroy all unsold tickets by the end of the year.

Lafka Market, which boasting around 1100 retail locations across the country, announced that it will shut down its operations. Lafka said it generated revenue of BGN240 m (US$ 133.2 m) in 2018 but much of that revenue was obtained through sales of products issued by the privately-run National Lottery and Lottery Bulgaria.

Bulgaria might have limited its lottery operations to the state but the country has made no move to revoke the licences it issued to several private online gambling operators, including familiar Western brands such as Bet365, Betfair, Bwin and PokerStars.

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Compliance Updates

Georgia’s Finance Minister Presents New Initiative to Reduce Gambling-Related Money Laundering

Niji Narayan

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Georgia’s Finance Minister Presents New Initiative to Reduce Gambling-Related Money Laundering
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Ivane Matchavariani, the Finance Minister of Georgia, has presented a new initiative to reduce money laundering risks related to gambling.

The initiative includes the implementation of a new system for the registration and verification of the identity of players. It also aims to create a list of people addicted to gambling and to control the movement of funds through identified channels.

Matchavariani said that the regulation of the sector is important as the sector is vulnerable to being used in money laundering schemes.

“There are many examples in the world when an incorrectly regulated gambling sector did more harm to society, and [can give rise to] illegal activity…That is why it is important to find the golden average of the regulation that achieves goals and avoids negative factors such as criminal growth,” Matchavariani said.

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